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Top Iowa position battle

With preseason practice in full swing around the Big Ten, lineups are taking shape. Many competitions around the league, though, have yet to be resolved. We're looking this week at fights for playing time that figure to shape the complexion of Big Ten teams, division races and bids for championships.

Next up, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Top position battle: Wide receiver

As long as the Hawkeyes on offense shake their slow start to camp, plenty of pass-catching options appear to exist for quarterback C.J. Beathard. Seniors Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer and junior Matt VandeBerg lead the receiving corps, but their assignments are far from determined.

Iowa must replace No. 1 receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley from a year ago. Smith, who outgained Martin-Manley in 2014 and caught three touchdowns, has prepared to work in the slot in addition to his traditional outside position. He figures to enter September as Beathard's top target.

The big-bodied Hillyer will likely fill a major role, but he has primarily played the same split-end spot as Smith. VandeBerg, who caught 14 passes last season, is competing with freshman Jay Scheel, who redshirted last season after suffering a knee injury.

Iowa must develop depth beyond the top three or four players from a group that includes converted running back Jonathan Parker, former defensive back Joshua Jackson, sophomore Andre Harris and a trio of true freshmen.