FAYETTE – When he was being recruited by Upper Iowa University, Shay Gutman was promised he would be given a shot to play quarterback for the Peacocks.
“That never happened,” the red-shirt junior from Cedar Rapids Washington said.
He’s not complaining, mind you. Not one bit.
Gutman is a wide receiver for UIU, and a good one. He has caught 117 passes for 1,809 yards and 11 touchdowns in two-plus seasons as a starter.
He is part of a junior class that came to itty bitty Fayette in order to put Upper Iowa’s program on the NCAA Division II map.
The Peacocks are 2-1 heading into their game Saturday afternoon at home against the University of Mary (noon kickoff). That’s as many victories as they had last season.
“When I first came here, it was kind of a rough start,” Gutman said. “But I think things are definitely really starting to improve. We have a lot of guys who came here together and said ‘We are going to be the ones to turn things around.’ We’re starting to do that.”
Gutman blew out his knee the middle of his senior season at Washington but played through the pain and got the Warriors to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs. He had surgery that winter, red-shirted as a freshman at Upper Iowa and has been on the field pretty much since.
The knee woes are a thing of the past, as the stats prove.
“It was painful, especially on grass fields when you tried to cut,” Gutman said. “Coach (Tony) Lombardi left it up to me whether to keep playing or not. I knew I was done with the rest of the sports my senior year either way, so I kept playing. It was kind of why I red-shirted my first year here. I was not confident with my knee. I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
“We’ve got a good group of receivers, and they complement each other so well,” said Upper Iowa Coach Tom Shea. “Shay is a no-nonsense kid on the field. A real task master, wants to get better and better. He is a great athlete who runs very, very well. He’s coordinated and a very smart individual.”
UIU runs its offense out of sets that are always three receivers at least. One of Gutman’s mates is senior Derek Giesking, whom he played ball with at Washington.
Giesking also has had a nice career as a wide receiver. He also played a little QB in high school, throwing for a school-record 487 yards in a 2007 playoff win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“We live in the same house,”Gutman said. “It’s funny because sometimes we’ll sit around and talk about who the better quarterback is.”
So who is the better quarterback?
“It’s hard to argue with 487,” Gutman said with a laugh.
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