WIDE RECEIVER STEVEN STAGGS
Arrival: The 6-3, 195-pounder’s career is a study in “receiving interest.” Staggs’ offers out of Oskaloosa High School were Army, Northern Iowa and South Dakota. As a receiver, defensive back and punter at Osky, Staggs hauled in 64 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns, including 43 catches and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2007.
The scholarships were FCS and Army. Staggs wanted to shoot a little higher and picked the Hawkeyes over preferred walk-on opportunities at Iowa State and Purdue.
And thus, the “receiving interest” career. Every roster in college football is filled with walk-ons who bloom (best case) or fade away (the higher percentage).
A small percentage makes it five years, and so, this is a feat unto itself.
2012 Takeoff: Former Iowa safety and New York Giant Tyler Sash broke the news on his Facebook that his hometown friend had earned a scholarship. Late last January, Staggs was put on scholarship for his final season.
Staggs, who caught five passes for 45 yards last season, has as good of a shot at No. 3 as anyone in this race (including Jacob Hillyer, No. 44 on this list, and Don Shumpert, who’s No. 39). It’s hard to gauge where incoming freshmen Tevaun Smith, Greg Mabin and Cameron Wilson might come in, but Staggs has seen more time on the field than the others.
During the spring scrimmage, Shumpert took a good chunk of No. 3 reps while Staggs was slowed by injury (he wore a red jersey during the spring scrimmage). Probably don’t read a lot into that. No. 3 WR isn’t won or lost in the spring. It’s a much more fluid deal than that and will be wide open all season or until someone is an obvious choice.
“It’s been going really well,” Staggs told HawkeyeSports.com. “We’ve been short on numbers, so that has given a bunch of other guys opportunities; just getting more reps this year than usual has been something I’ve been able to improve upon and make myself a better receiver.”
Asked about the race at No. 3 this spring, wide receiver coach Erik Campbell said the entire unit needs seasoning.
“Well, I feel it’s still young,” Campbell said when asked about depth. “A lot of guys don’t have a lot of game [experience]. When I say ‘young’, I mean game experience. Right now if you look at our roster, besides Kevonte and Keenan, next guy in mind is Steve Staggs, he played a little bit in games, but a few snaps. Don Shumpert played some, but only a few snaps. Jordan Cotton had a few snaps.
“Not a lot of guys with game experience. That’s why I said it’s open for grabs right now.”
Could special teams value factor here? Maybe, but WRs usually aren’t counted on for huge special teams participation. Some, but not a huge amount. With Iowa’s passing game getting the extreme makeover under new OC Greg Davis, Iowa coaches will likely want receivers concentrating on being receivers.
Maybe Staggs could’ve been a No. 1 or 2 if he had gone to UNI or Army. He went the hard road and put himself in position to contribute as a scholarship-carrying fifth-year. There’s success in that.
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