It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It: Iowa Quarterbacks, Past, Present and Future

Since we are reaching peak recruiting season I thought I'd share a a solid read from the guys at Smartfootball.com. The post discusses the interplay of recruiting, eliteness and pro-style versus spread schemes. In discussing teams and their identity it's noted that when you're a team like Iowa and have a pro-style offense it,

helps a lot because it allows you to focus your recruiting on guys that can help you, and in many cases it means you don't have to compete with some other teams for those guys

and

you have a system with specific skills required, you can develop those skills.

That fits, that's Iowa. And here's a mention about the defense:

Think of a program like Iowa where Norm Parker sent a bunch of mid-level defensive recruits to the NFL as they developed in his traditional but effective 4-3 system.

In other words, you have some parts more important than others, depending on the system. At Iowa a four star tight end prospect is more important than a four star free safety. A highly rated safety is certainly nice but Iowa has had success developing those players.

Iowa needs highly skilled tight ends, maybe more than wide receivers. That's not to say that Iowa couldn't use a five star stud wide receiver like Dorail Green-Beckham. They could, but they've also had success converting former high school quarterbacks to school record breaking wide receivers.

One important point of SF's post is the mention of over and under rating recruiting classes. Schools like Iowa recruit to fill their needs regardless of star rankings of a player. That could explain Iowa's success over the last ten years despite having an average recruiting class ranking in the lower half of the Big Ten.

Kirk Ferentz's recruiting history includes taking a lot of former high school linebackers and quarterbacks for development into other positions. The coaching staff gets them on campus and molds them into fullbacks, defensive linemen and safeties. Iowa recruits team captains. They scout intangibles like leadership and work ethic. Those don't figure into recruiting service's stars but often results in wins on the field.

Finally, the post concludes that pro-style teams need great quarterback play to be successful. Consider the impact Russell Wilson had at Wisconsin in their system. If, and only if, you are Alabama or LSU and have superior talent on the defensive side of the ball, QB play isn't a huge concern. We've seen this season that they can get away with mediocre talent at the quarterback spot.

Iowa had mediocre quarterback play in 2008 and perhaps 2009. There was talent on the defensive side of the ball and it led to Iowa victories. You had a four star defensive end and a walk-on safety. One rushes the quarterback, the other is the quarterback of the defensive backfield. Both players, while not equally recruited as hard by Iowa, developed at their position and were equally as important on the field.




Speaking of Stanzi, Bill Williamson, of ESPN.com, writes that he "wouldn't be shocked if Stanzi starts at some point in the final three games." Interim head coach Romeo Crennel wouldn't rule out the option of starting the rookie quarterback Sunday against the Packers (Williamson also notes that the timing for hiring Ferentz in Kansas City might not be right).

For the present portion, Hawkeye Nation has a look back at James Vandenberg's season and compares it to Ricky Stanzi's 2009. For reasons not clear, 2008 wasn't evaluated and 2009 considered Stanzi's first year as a starter. The conclusion, per author HawkeyeGameFilm, is "Vandenberg had a better first year as a starter." But, let's not forget, Stanzi had those 11 wins (If you don't love it, leave it).

Stanzi graduated from Iowa having won all three bowl games he started. For Vandenberg to get his first win in as many starts he'll need to figure out how to perform away from Kinnick. His home and road splits for the season are concerning but as FightforIowa notes, Oklahoma's pass defense is mediocre.

Yesterday I mentioned a JUCO quarterback that has an offer from Iowa and is visiting this weekend. Another quarterback from the same area, but still in high school, is considering Iowa too. Nathan Sudfeld, from Modesto, California, committed to Arizona but has opened up his recruiting after the coaching change. He's 6'5", 215 pounds and still interested in Arizona along with Iowa, USC and Arkansas. Sudfeld is considered a pro-style quarterback and may not fit in new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez's spread style (here is a video).

Another possible quarterback recruit is Eric Williams of Cleveland, Ohio. Williams played his senior season in Cleveland at St. Ignatius High School. He moved to the area from Oregon last year (here is his video).

Other links of interest:

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