IOWA CITY — Nick Easley just wanted to do his job.

Easley came to the Iowa football team before the spring semester in 2017 as a walk-on wide receiver from Iowa Western Community College. Easley, a Newton High School graduate, just wanted to be a Hawkeye and have a chance to play.

Of course, then he became a spring practice sensation. But unlike some of the other flashes from past Aprils, Easley didn’t fade in the heat of summer practice. Instead, he went on to become Iowa’s leading receiver last season, catching 51 passes for 530 yards and four touchdowns.

Easley wasn’t a rah-rah guy — he left the vocal leadership role to fifth-year senior Matt VandeBerg. Plus, he didn’t think he had built the political capital to command the wide receiver room.

“Last year, I was coming here as a mid-year walk-on guy,” Easley said on Tuesday. “I was just trying to keep my head low.”

His preference this season would be to just keep doing his job. But the Hawkeyes, thin on experience at receiver, need him to be more.

He's OK with the new part of his job description.

“Nothing’s changed, I want to do the same thing,” said Easley, who was among 12 Hawkeyes named to the team's leadership group on Tuesday. “But my leadership role is more clearly defined. I know more is expected of me.”

That’s why Easley is speaking up.

“Just try to show the other guys what it takes to be successful,” Easley said. “Staying after practice, talking to guys in the film room. Doing stuff with them this summer. Just leading by example.”

Easley gets why he needs to be an instructor. Wide receiver is a complicated position, and even with the numbers he put up last season, Easley had his moments of struggles.

“I think it could have been better,” Easley said. “I had some ups and some downs. Northwestern and Michigan State (both Iowa losses), there were some plays out there I could have made. Dropped passes. Drops, bad routes, everything.”

In other words, be consistent.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think a lot of it is just consistency. I think everyone in our room has the ability to do what they need to do. But I think it’s just bringing it every game.”

There will be plenty of receiving options for quarterback Nate Stanley this season. Sophomore Ihmir Smith-Marsette was No. 2 on the depth chart behind Easley in the spring. Sophomore Brandon Smith and senior Kyle Groeneweg, who was the spring sensation this year, were 1-2 at split end. Max Cooper is another who built some April buzz after the final scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium.

If those names don’t sound all that familiar, it’s because there isn’t a lot of experience there.

So that’s why Easley wants to have a bigger voice.

“I have been more vocal this spring,” he said. “I’ve had to be. We need someone to be.

“It’s the intricacies of the offense — routes, steps, how to do things against certain coverages. Just trying to be clear with that with them as much as I can.

There is also that dependability factor, a comfort that comes with 51 connections between receiver and quarterback.

“Being in the offense for a year, I have less questions now,” Easley said. “Also, just being more comfortable out there is a big deal.”

Leader, teacher, security blanket.

All these roles seem to fit someone who just wants to do his job.