Tim Dwight figured it was only a matter of time before senior Derrell Johnson-Koulianos would break his receiving record at the University of Iowa.
The time finally came Saturday during Iowa’s 38-28 victory at Michigan.
“I knew Derrell was getting up there, so I had a feeling it was going to be happening,” Dwight said Wednesday.
Johnson-Koulianos broke Dwight’s school record for most receiving yards by catching four passes for 70 yards against Michigan. Three of Johnson-Koulianos’ catches against Michigan went for touchdowns.
Johnson-Koulianos has 2,275 receiving yards heading into Saturday’s game against Wisconsin. Dwight finished his career in 1997 with 2,271 receiving yards.
“I only played (receiver) for three years and didn’t have a whole lot of catches,” said Dwight, who played mostly on special teams as a true freshman in 1994 before switching to receiver. “You’re competing for the football. You’ve got four other guys maybe out on a route.
“It’s not like you’re a running back where you’re going to get the football 20 to 25 times a game.”
Dwight said he hadn’t thought much about the record before Johnson-Koulianos started creeping closer to it.
“I’ve kind of moved on from Iowa,” said Dwight, who splits time living in San Diego and Iowa City. “It still dawns on me that I have records there. But I’ve been out for 13 years now. You kind of forget a little bit.”
Dwight still holds the Iowa record for punt return yardage with 1,102 yards. He also holds the Big Ten record for career punt return touchdowns with five.
The former City High star returned three punts for touchdowns as a senior in 1997 and was named a consensus All-America return specialist that season.
Dwight then went on to play in the NFL for nearly a decade before retiring.
He thinks Johnson-Koulianos and Iowa junior receiver Marvin McNutt both have what it takes to play in the NFL.
“Absolutely,” Dwight said. “They’re big-time players and guys that make big plays, especially McNutt down in the red zone.
“They just need to understand that they need to put their head down and work hard and be coachable and not make a lot of mistakes. If you start making too many mistakes, you’ll find yourself on the way out.”
Receiver is one position where Iowa has struggled to send players to the NFL.
Kevin Kasper and Kahlil Hill are the only receivers from Iowa to be selected in the NFL draft since Kirk Ferentz became head coach in 1999. Kasper and Hill both were taken in the sixth round, but neither stayed in the league very long.
Former Iowa receiver C.J. Jones also played briefly in the NFL as a free agent, but he wasn’t drafted.
Dwight, on the other hand, was drafted in the fourth round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1998 and lasted for a decade in the NFL despite being undersized at 5-foot-9, 185-pounds.
Dwight credits his ability as a return specialist for helping him stay in the NFL. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the 1999 Super Bowl as a rookie with Atlanta.
“I think special teams had a lot to do with me getting into the (NFL), but also staying there,” Dwight said. “Being multi-dimensional, I think, helped me extend my career.”
Johnson-Koulianos also has shined as a return specialist at Iowa, including returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown at Ohio State last season. He currently is ranked fourth in the Big Ten in kick returning with a 27.1 average.
Johnson-Koulianos also is close to breaking Iowa’s career record for most receptions. He has 152 receptions to rank second on the list behind Kasper’s 157 catches.
Dwight finished his career with 139 catches and 21 touchdowns.
Dwight said he enjoys watching Iowa play these days largely because of the contributions made by the receivers.
“They’re doing a really good job of getting vertical and testing the defensive backs,” Dwight said.
Johnson-Koulianos leads Iowa with 404 receiving yards and 25 catches, whereas McNutt is second in both categories with 353 receiving yards and 19 catches.
“But both of these guys seem like they’ve got their head on straight, and they’re big-time players,” Dwight said. “I mean, look what they’re doing for their team.
“It’s a lot of fun watching receivers; I wouldn’t say they’re carrying the team, but (they’re) making plays and being a force where you can’t just focus on one guy.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football