Iowa has gotten an early start on its 2014 recruiting class. The 2013 class isn't even completely intact yet with a few slots to fill in the next 2 weeks, but the Hawkeyes have already landed their second commit for next year. Just a week after landing highly touted offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, Iowa added another in-state talent, Jay Scheel. Scheel verbally committed to the Hawks while attending junior day in Iowa City.
Scheel is a dual-threat QB from La Porte City, Iowa. Listed as an "athlete" on the scouting sites, some project him as a wide receiver in college. But according to his coach, he will start as a QB for the Hawkeyes. And, why not? He's been an extremely productive quarterback in high school. As a junior, Scheel threw for 1,600 yards and 19 TDs, plus ran for another 1,300 yards and 20 TDs.
His production hasn't gone unnoticed. He's earned a 4-star rating from 247Sports, and with offers from other FBS programs like Nebraska, Iowa State, and Minnesota, he'll probably get a similar rating from the other sites as 2014 scouting picks up. With Pierschbacher already on board, that puts Iowa's very early 2014 class with two 4-stars commits. The 2013 class has none.
Scheel started his high school career as a receiver. Midway through his sophomore season, the starting QB for Union High went down with an injury. Scheel stepped in and and stepped up. He helped leads the Knights to the school's first ever state football championship. In the 3A title game, Scheel ran for 55 yards, threw for 110 yards, and had the game-winning TD, a 36-yard pass with 6 minutes left in the game. His junior season, Union was not quite as successful. The Knights were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
It will be very interesting to see what the Iowa coaching staff does with Scheel. Watching his highlights on Hudl, he looks like a better runner than passer. (Let's be honest here too...the best part of those highlights is the team's use of the Hayden Fry classic stand up TE.) He's got the zone-read play down and is a very smooth runner, but looks a little uncomfortable just standing in the pocket and most of his passing highlights are just him chucking the ball deep to open receivers (there are some plays were he shows some nice zip on the ball too). His speed is obvious, but what impressed me more is that at just 6-1, 170, he's a tough runner and is able to break through a lot of arm tackles.
We've seen this dual-threat thing go a few different way in the Kirk Ferentz era. Best case scenario is Brad Banks, worst case...probably A.J. Derby. But then there's also the Marvin McNutt route, which worked out pretty nicely. What's more interesting this time around, is the Greg Davis factor. We've seen him have success running a zone-read heavy offense at Texas with a dual-threat QB. Can that transfer to Iowa? That I don't know.
Also adding to the interest, is that the current state of Iowa quarterback is completely unknown. Rudock? Beathard? Sokol? Your guess is as good as anyone's. Plus for 2014 you'll have Nic Shimonek in the mix. So if Scheel does find himself staring at a pretty full depth chart with the likely hood of playing time slim, he might be more inclined to move to WR.
As for now, it's thrilling to have two early, in-state, 4-star commits for the 2014 class. Welcome aboard, Jay.