It’s no secret the Iowa Hawkeyes struggled mightily on offense in 2022. A big part of that was a lack of options in the passing game as Iowa played much of the year with more than half the receiver room out due to injury. Looking ahead to 2023, the Hawkeyes have already seen a pair of receivers hit the portal and are thus looking for an infusion of talent.
Enter: Kansas City wide receiver Dayton Howard.
Howard is the big-framed prototypical outside receiver that’s been lacking in the Iowa offense since the departure of Brandon Smith. While Iowa was able to get Brody Brecht back for part of the 2022 season, the Hawkeyes need to build depth on the outside, especially considering the possibility Brecht gives up football for his promising baseball career at some point.
With Howard, a 6’5” 190 pounds X receiver, the Hawkeyes have what they’ve been looking for in that department. Today, Howard made it official as he signed his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Iowa.
Howard has great size and notably shows an ability to use it to go up and get the ball. He doesn’t have elite speed, and that’s been a hallmark of Iowa’s bigger receivers. Of course, 6’5” receivers who run a 4.4 40 typically come with 5 stars and end up at bluebloods. The Hawkeyes can get speed or size and Howard has the latter in droves.
As a senior at Kansas City’s Park Hill, Howard used his solid speed, great hands and A+ frame to haul in 45 passes for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging almost 17 yards per reception. Howard was an under the radar prospect who jumped onto the scene late. That was due in large part to a lack of camp visits and spending his prior season at a smaller school (Savannah) with less publicity.
Howard is one of three receiver commits in Iowa’s class of 2023 to-date. He joins Tamp native Jarriett Buie, who also projects as a bigger outside WR, and Marion native Alex Mota. The Hawkeyes return just three other receivers from this year’s group after losing Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce to the transfer portal. However, it remains a possibility that senior Nico Ragaini opts to use his COVID year and returns for another season.
Iowa is also pursuing opportunities in the transfer portal and is expected to take at least one transfer at the position. Even at that, the Hawkeyes are expected to have fewer than ten scholarship receivers in 2023, meaning Howard, Buie and Mota each have a very real opportunity to contribute right out of the gate.
Welcome aboard, officially, Dayton Howard!