Kelton Copeland Pleased with Development at Receiver

December 17, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – When Kelton Copeland took over as Iowa’s receiver coach almost two years ago, one thing was clear – he had his work cut out for him. To his credit, things have progressed.

Junior college transfer Nick Easley recorded 95 receptions during the last two seasons. True sophomore Brandon Smith raised his total from three catches in ’17 to 25 this fall, while classmate Ihmir Smith-Marsette contributed 37 grabs in two years.

While the Hawkeyes will have to replace Easley and Kyle Groeneweg after the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl, Copeland has been building depth at the position that should make that task easier. Max Cooper worked behind Easley for two years, while true freshmen Tyrone Tracy and Nico Ragaini saw the field this season. Their classmate, Calvin Lockett, overcame an early injury and put in work.

“Tyrone Tracy and Nico Ragaini are incoming freshmen that showed some things. We saw some huge benefits from having these guys play,” Copeland said.

A new rule allowing players to participate in up to four games while still retaining a redshirt worked to the Hawkeyes advantage. Tracy and Ragaini stayed under that threshold, and would remain under it even if they played in the bowl game, which Copeland said was likely.

Iowa is looking for signs that somebody is willing to take over the slot spot from Easley. It could be Cooper. It could be Tracy. It could be Ragaini. It could be someone else.

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

“That will be a big conversation, I’m sure. I’m sure they’ll all be lobbying,” Copeland said. “The good news is we have options. Just mixing and matching and putting our best product on the field next year will be huge for us. But we have options, and we have very good options.”

Smith and Smith-Marsette improved as all-around receivers this season.

Continue reading below

“(Smith-Marsette) has come a long way, not only physically what we see on the field, but what people don’t see behind the scenes, just the maturity of handling the day-to-day operation,” Copeland said.

“Brandon Smith, it’s not about being the biggest and the fastest and the strongest, there’s a lot of details, fundamentals and technique that have to be worked on and brought onto the field and he has done that.”

Continue reading below

Watch the position coach talk more about those guys, Lockett and others in this HN TV video:

Trending in Forums View All >

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye History Podcast: Tangela Smith

Rob Howe

July 16, 2019

Catching up with former Big Ten Player of the Year and new Iowa Hall of Fame inductee.

Kiyron Powell Sees Iowa as Excellent Opportunity

Rob Howe

July 15, 2019

Evansville (IN) power forward plans to visit Hawkeyes.

Bigger Ten: 2019 B1G Predictions

Jon Miller

July 14, 2019

Deace shares his final Big Ten predictions for the 2019 football season in this episode of the Bigger Ten podcast.

HN Podcast: Top 25 & Bowl Predictions

Jon Miller

July 14, 2019

This week’s HN Podcast focuses on Deace’s Top 25 and his final bowl projections.

Schwartz: Ten Sentences – Stats Tell A Story

David Schwartz

July 14, 2019

Nate Stanley has Chuck Long in his sights.

The Complete All-Kirk Ferentz Team

Rob Howe

July 13, 2019

A compilation of all positions after 20 years heading the Hawkeyes for the dean of college coaches.

All-Ferentz Team: Quarterback

Rob Howe

July 13, 2019

Ranking the top signal callers.

All-Ferentz Team: Defensive Back

Rob Howe

July 12, 2019

Sifting through the deep talent pool in the secondary.

TOP