Iowa's Johnson-Koulianos a Mystery Man for Hawks

Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos poses for a photo during Iowa Football Media Day at the Football Practice Complex in Iowa City on Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. (Julie Koehn/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has pledged to reveal his thoughts to the world as soon as the 2010 season is over.

Until then, the man known as "DJK" will likely remain a mystery.

Johnson-Koulianos enters his senior season with a chance to become the first player to lead Iowa in catches for four straight years. Yet the prevailing notion in Iowa City is that the expressive DJK lives in coach Kirk Ferentz's doghouse — perhaps in part because he's so expressive.

The fact that Johnson-Koulianos isn't often made available to the media or even listed as a starter has only fueled speculation about a man who proudly says he's "not one for normal."

DJK plans to clear it all up on Twitter — as soon as Ferentz can't stop him for doing so.

"Whatever January bowl that we happen to play in, that next evening will be a tweet fest for DJK," Johnson-Koulianos said Friday during the team's annual media day.

One thing is known: DJK has always been a playmaker for an offense that's desperately need one.

Johnson-Koulianos came to Iowa in 2006 from Campbell, Ohio, where he played quarterback and running back at Cardinal Mooney High. He redshirted, converted to wide receiver and quickly helped stabilize a unit rocked by dismissals and transfers.

The 6-foot-1 Johnson-Koulianos led the Hawkeyes with 38 receptions in 2007 as Iowa struggled to a 6-6 record. He topped the team in catches in 2008 with 44, including a 27-yard TD reception in the third quarter that helped Iowa stun Penn State. Last season, he had a team-high 45 receptions and 750 receiving yards, and his 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Ohio State was critical in keeping the Hawkeyes in a game they eventually lost in overtime.

Johnson-Koulianos's relationship with Ferentz appears to have been strained at times, despite his on-field production.

Why? Well, that's a mystery, too. Ferentz has long said he doesn't have a doghouse, and insisted last week that he and Johnson-Koulianos "get along fine."

"It's like a father-son relationship. I love my dad when he rewards me, and when he doesn't, I'm a little mad and I pout. When I don't do the things he says, he doesn't reward me. But coach Ferentz, he's the best in the business," Johnson-Koulianos said.

Though Johnson-Koulianos enters 2010 in position to break records, he's still listed as a co-starter with Colin Sandeman, a senior with just 24 career receptions. But that's just likely a way for Ferentz to keep Johnson-Koulianos on his toes, because he'll again play a crucial role in Iowa's offense.

The Hawkeyes have a senior quarterback in Ricky Stanzi and are stacked at wideout, which should give the often-conservative Iowa offense more of a chance to air it out than they have in recent years.

Johnson-Koulianos and converted quarterback Marvin McNutt, whose last-second TD catch clinched a win at Michigan State last season, will be Stanzi's main targets now that tight end Tony Moeaki has moved on to the NFL.

But save for a snippet or two after games, fans wanting to hear Johnson-Koulianos's take on how things go this season will likely have to wait.

Ferentz has discouraged his players from tweeting so they don't give opponents billboard material.

"I guess I'm the dad in this one. I might say, right now at least, he's in my house, so my say goes," Ferentz said. "As soon as he moves out of the house, next January, he can Twitter away, and I bet he will."AARON

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