IOWA CITY - The University of Iowa football coaching staff saw the ability and knew Marvin McNutt had to be on the field.
McNutt started the spring of 2008 as the third-string quarterback and then he was moved to wide receiver during the season.
With one career catch to his credit, the sophomore has jumped ahead of last year's No. 1 receiver to be listed as the starting split end going into fall camp.
"The fact that Marvin played well in the spring is exciting," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "He's a guy that I think has a lot of upside, too. Last year when he moved to receiver, he didn't get a lot of the fundamental work you have to have like you do get in spring practice or in camp. We're really excited to see where he'll be in 20 practices."
McNutt's lone reception came against Indiana and went for 11 yards.
"Marvin's a smart guy. He had an advance knowing what goes on there from a quarterback standpoint," said Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe. "The big thing for him is to learn how to run routes, how to release off of jams. He's a great athlete - he's a Division I basketball prospect - he'll go up and get it."
Receiver is a position the Hawkeyes have a fair amount of depth at and they also can count on the pass reception capabilities of tight ends Tony Moeaki and Allen Reisner.
Senior Trey Stross is the starter at wide receiver and the three-year letterwinner is coming off 13 receptions last year.
Backing up McNutt at split end are juniors Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Colin Sandeman. Koulianos was last year's leader in receptions (44) and receiving yards (639).
Junior Paul Chaney, Jr., a standout sprinter on the track team, is the second-team wide receiver backing up Stross.
Freshman Keenan Davis, a Cedar Rapids Washington alum, also could push for playing time. Davis participated in the Under Armour All-American game and also was a Super Prep Top 100 national recruit.
"Keenan physically is mature enough and capable enough, now it will come down to learning the system," O'Keefe said.
"This is one of the more exceptional groups of athletes I've ever gotten to play with," Johnson-Koulianos added.
"We have younger guys pushing older guys and older guys pushing the younger guys, so I think (wide receivers) coach (Erik) Campbell definitely has his hands full figuring all that out."