In last week’s installment of our 2017 Position Previews, we wrote about Iowa’s wide receiver situation - mainly, we talked about all the uncertainties Iowa will be challenged with this upcoming season at the position, as only Matt VandeBerg has a career reception and even he is coming back from a leg injury that cost him most of the 2016 campaign. Essentially, Iowa lacks wide receiver experience at the college level, and when paired with a first-year starter at quarterback (to be determined), that could prove to be detrimental to how successful the Hawks can be in 2017.
Luckily for whoever earns the starting quarterback job come September, he’ll have one additional target with FBS experience. Through the graduate transfer rule, the Hawkeyes were able to obtain the services of wide receiver Matt Quarells to help bolster the receiving corps immediately. Quarells previously played two seasons for the New Mexico Lobos prior to transferring and will be eligible for two years of football at Iowa. The news was confirmed by New Mexico head coach Bob Davie.
By Rick Wright / Journal Staff Writer •LAS VEGAS, Nev. — In any walk of life, having goals is important. Garrett ... https://t.co/d9ffEFfThU— Albuquerque Journal (@ABQJournal) July 27, 2017
Quarells’ numbers aren’t particularly impressive - last season, he hauled in just 11 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown in 13 games - but because New Mexico runs the triple option, you wouldn’t expect them to be. In 2016, the Lobos attempted just 179 passes and rushed 688 times, which doesn’t exactly lend to tremendous receiving stats. One thing’s for sure, though - with all that running the Lobos do, Quarells should have some solid experience blocking and probably has the most potential out of all the newcomers to see early playing time in 2017 because of it.
Video of him playing at the collegiate level is pretty hard to find, but we did manage to find video of his only career touchdown reception, which came on a pretty nice catch against South Dakota. You can find footage of that at the end of this video.
In high school, Quarells was a really good athlete with a fairly solid offer sheet for football. According to 247, the Missouri native was a three-star recruit and had 11 offers, with Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and Missouri coming in as the most impressive of the bunch. Taking a look at his senior highlight tape, you get a pretty good sense that he’s more than a one-trick pony. While he has the speed to be a deep threat, he makes a few catches in traffic and doesn’t look like he’s afraid to put himself out there to get hit. The route running isn’t very crisp in the videos, but he does enough to get himself open and one would assume he’s improved in the few years since he played at that level.
Quarells has a couple of pretty fun Iowa connections already, both of which come from his high school days. He went to Hazelwood Central, the same high school as Marvin McNutt, who you may or may not know as the man who holds most of Iowa’s receiving records. He also has a track connection, too - as a junior, he placed third in the 200m at the Missouri State Championships, just barely edging out Aaron Mallett, who recently graduated from Iowa as a five-time All-American, six-time Big Ten Champion, Big Ten 100m-hurdles record holder, and a school record holder in three events. If that’s any indication, Quarells has some ELITE speed that could terrorize teams in the Big Ten.
Ultimately, there’s not a lot of risk here for the Hawkeyes. They get a guy in Quarells who has some experience at the college level and can immediately come in to help a depleted wide receiver corps, and the cost is a scholarship that they likely have available because of previous departures this offseason from players at the same position*. The only concern with him will be keeping him on the field - he’s been known to battle the injury bug, but if he’s healthy and can stay that way, he should be a positive addition to the team for the next couple years. That is, of course, provided that the team can find more ways to use him than they did Damond Powell a couple years ago, and for whatever reason, I’m optimistic that they’ll try to use Quarells as more than just a gimmick.
Welcome to the family, Mr. Quarells. We look forward to watching you play in the black and gold on Saturdays.
*Iowa currently appears to have 87 players on scholarship with the addition of Matt Quarells, which is two over the NCAA limit. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone on the team loses their scholarship or leaves the team prior to the 2017 season because this isn’t exactly a rule that you can circumvent.