When all is said and done, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos might very well be No. 1 on this list. With two years of eligibility remaining, he has 940 receiving yards and 82 career receptions. Tim Dwight holds the Iowa record for yards with 2,271 and Kevin Kasper is No. 1 in receptions with 157. It’s not inconceivable that DJK could leave Iowa with both records.
But for now, DJK will have to wait.
This came down to five — Kevin Kasper, Kahlil Hill, Clinton Solomon, Ed Hinkel and Mo Brown.
1) Ed Hinkel (2002-05)
I have two great Ed Hinkel moments. You remember the score, 6-4, at Penn State in 2004. You might remember the circumstances. Kirk Ferentz’s father, John, passed away the Sunday before the game after a lengthy illness. Yeah, 6-4, the wide receiver probably didn’t do a whole lot. But in the postgame, Hinkel showed me that he “got” what was going on around him.
Here’s a snippet from that day:
“The Iowa coach delivered the eulogy at his dad’s funeral Friday. Saturday, he coached the Hawkeyes to a tense, touchdown-less 6-4 victory at Beaver Stadium.
Son, brother, dad and coach — it was an emotional churn that ended with the coach holding the game ball in the Iowa locker room.
“What he did, how he handled (it), just showed that he doesn’t want us thinking about him. He wants this about the team,” wideout Ed Hinkel said. “That shows how strong he is. I’m so proud of him.
“Anyone would want to play for a coach like that.”
Then, later in ’04, Hinkel smashed the hell out of an arm early in a tense 23-21 victory at Purdue. He broke in the first half and was on the Iowa sidelines by the beginning of the fourth quarter. He was only a cheerleader, but he was into it. I remember having a quick word with him after the game. He was feeling no pain. The Hawkeyes won.
Hinkel probably has the least sexiest number of all 31 receivers on Iowa’s career list. His 11.8 yards per reception is the lowest. He sits at a modest No. 14 on the list with 135 receptions for 1,588 and 15 TDs.
Hinkel is No. 1 here because he is the prime example of a Ferentz-era Hawkeye. He was 6-1ish, 190-ish and had OK speed. He just seemed to get the everything possible out of his God-given abilities. The catch at Penn State in ’02. The catch at Michigan in ’04. He seemed to be able to reach back and find something that maybe he didn’t think was there.
Epitome of the era.
2) Clinton Solomon (2002, 04-05)
The backstory here is Solomon’s departure after the 2002 season due to academics and his subsequent return to become a top performer.
One of the last scenes of Solomon in 2002 was holding a rose between his teeth after the Hawkeyes finished off their 8-0 run in the Big Ten at the Metrodome. Then, he was gone. He flunked out and ended up at Iowa Central in Fort Dodge. He found his academic self there and made it back to Iowa City in 2004, just in time to catch 58 passes for 905 yards and six TDs. Solomon and Hinkel ended up with two Big Ten championship rings, by the way.
Solomon was a great story in that regard, but he also came through on the field. He sits at No. 7 on Iowa’s career receiving list, catching 118 passes for 1,864 yards and 14 TDs. Some fans still hope a bobble in 2005 against Michigan that totaled up in an overtime loss at Kinnick. But Solomon’s overall body of work is excellent.
3) Mo Brown (2000-03)
Brown missed most of 2001 after a couple of arrests and a lengthy suspension. He missed a huge chunk of 2003 after suffering a wicked ankle injury on a great catch in a victory at Iowa State, Iowa’s last victory at Jack Trice.
You have to keep those in mind when you look at Brown’s career numbers — 84 catches, 1,515 and 15 TDs. He’s 15th on Iowa’s career list. His 18.0 yards a catch is No. 3 on that list behind Bill Schultz (22.3) and Robert Smith (20.8). During Iowa’s 2002 co-championship run, Brown averaged 20.1 yards on 48 catches. Brown was money in ’02, leading Iowa in receptions (48), receiving yards (966), scoring receptions (11) and yards per catch (20.1).
He had the lost 2001 and missed five games in ’03. He also played his freshman year without recording a reception. Brown did his damage in a little more than a year and a half.
Honorable mention: Kevin Kasper and Kahlil Hill. Kasper set an Iowa record with 82 receptions during the 2000 season. He’s also one of just three Iowa receivers to log a 1,000-yard season in receptions (Keith Chappelle and Quinn Early are the others). He finished his career with an Iowa record 157 receptions. Hill is No. 2 on the all-time receptions list with 152. Kasper and Hill are the only Iowa receivers to reach 150 career receptions. They sit No. 4 and No. 6 on Iowa’s career receiving list.