The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa wide receiver Kaleb Brown bounces back with impressive performance versus Rutgers

The four-star recruit had three receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Grace Smith
Iowa wide receiver Kaleb Brown runs into the end zone for a touchdown during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Brown received the ball three times for 27 yards and a touchdown. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 22-0.

Heading into Iowa football’s Week 10 matchup against Northwestern, wide receiver Kaleb Brown was almost non-existent on offense.

Much was said on whether the transfer from Ohio State would significantly impact an Iowa team in desperate need of a receiving threat after losing tight ends Luke Lachey and Erick All for the season to injury.

In Iowa’s last two games — beating Northwestern and Rutgers to take control of the Big Ten West — Hawkeyes fans have seen a glimpse of the potential from the second-year wideout.

Hailing from Chicago, Brown has had an increased role in Iowa’s offense over the last two weeks because starting wide receiver Diante Vines is out with an injury.

The second-year has recorded over 70 all-purpose yards on six touches the last two contests and scored his first collegiate touchdown against Rutgers.

“It was just a matter of time for the whole thing to get rolling,” Brown said following Iowa’s 22-0 win over the Scarlet Knights.

Sixth-year wide receiver Nico Ragaini said Brown making the most of his opportunity is a classic example of backups stepping up when needed.

“I’m proud of Kaleb — he works hard every single day, all the time,” Ragaini said at the post-game press conference.

For those who have watched Brown throughout his career, seeing him not make big-time plays out on the field might have been odd. Brown was a four-star recruit and second-ranked player in Illinois coming out of St. Brieta High School, finishing with over 3,700 all-purpose yards and 47 total touchdowns.

Despite receiving offers from schools such as Alabama, Michigan, and Notre Dame, Brown committed to Ohio State, which is known for churning out NFL wide receivers such as Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin, and Garrett Wilson.

Even though he was Ohio State’s top wide receiver commit in the 2022 class, Brown struggled seeing playing time his rookie year as part of a stacked wide receiver room for the Buckeyes that featured 2023 first-round draft pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba and consensus 2024 top-three pick Marvin Harrison Jr.

After recording just one reception for six yards with the Buckeyes, Brown entered the transfer portal following the 2022 season.

“My reasoning for leaving was just how stacked we were at Ohio State,” Brown said at a media availability in July. “The two boxes I wanted checked were quarterback stability and a place where I could work for a spot and play immediately, and those boxes were pretty much checked [at Iowa].”

Following Brown’s performance versus Rutgers, head coach Kirk Ferentz said the wideout has grown exponentially since the beginning of the season.

“I don’t know how much he did last year — I don’t know if he was on the scout team or just standing there watching Harrison and all their good guys running around,” Ferentz said.

Brown said it felt good to score for the first time since high school. Iowa QB Deacon Hill said Brown was encouraged in the hallway after the game and wants to “keep it going” for the rest of the season.

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About the Contributors
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.