After months of uncertainty, the Iowa football season is only seven short days away from kicking off. In keeping with our countdown to the beginning of the season, we move on to two Hawkeye players who share one of the most hallowed jerseys in program history: #7. From Brad Banks to Reggie Roby to Marvin McNutt, some of the greatest to ever don the black and gold have made their names while wearing this legendary jersey. The two underclassmen who currently call the number their own can only hope to follow in their footsteps.
Spencer Petras (So)
San Rafael, CA (Marin Catholic)
6’5”, 231 lbs.
2020 Projection: Starting Quarterback
Reggie Bracy (Fr)
Mobile, AL (St. Paul’s Episcopal)
6’0”, 203 lbs
2020 Projection: Reserve Safety
Let’s start with Petras, who might be Iowa’s biggest wildcard entering the season. Petras was a highly-recruited signal-caller coming out of high school and was ranked as one of the twenty best pro-style quarterbacks in the 2018 recruiting class by 247. Petras earned Conference Player of the Year honors during his record-breaking senior season in which he shattered passing yard and touchdown marks originally set by #1 overall draft pick Jared Goff. Petras’ numbers his senior year were truly spectacular (4,157 passing yards, 50 touchdowns, two interceptions, nine rushing touchdowns), which is why Hawkeye fans were ecstatic when he decommitted from Oregon State and pledged to play for Iowa.
Oregon State’s loss was Iowa’s gain, and Petras will enter Iowa’s season opener against Purdue as the starting quarterback for the Hawkeyes after redshirting in 2018 and playing sparingly in 2019 (6-10 passing attempts for 25 yards). Petras has all the physical tools to be successful in this role, as his high school highlights display a beautiful throwing motion, a strong arm, and a penchant for accuracy even when attacking downfield.
Petras has NFL size at 6’5 231 lbs. (he played defensive end as a freshman in high school), and the coaching staff seems comfortable with his mastery of the offense, going so far as to signal that he was the air apparent to start this season before the 2019 campaign had even ended. Petras will also have plenty of weapons at his disposal, with proven targets like Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Tyler Goodson, Brandon Smith, Tyrone Tracy, Nico Ragaini, Sam LaPorta, and Mekhi Sargent all returning. Petras still has to prove he can handle the pressure of a Big Ten pass rush, find chemistry with his veteran playmakers, and make the right reads when facing some of the country’s best defenders and defensive coordinators. However, if Petras can hit the ground running and overcome the hurdles presented by a disrupted offseason and difficult conference-only schedule, he will have every opportunity to find success in his first season under center.
On the other side of the ball, true freshman Reggie Bracy hopes to earn his way onto the field despite a logjam of talent at safety. A three-star recruit from Alabama, Bracy earned All-State honors as a senior and twice led his St. Paul’s Episcopal team in tackles during his career (he was limited by injuries during his junior year). Bracy may seem a clear candidate to redshirt with returning talent like Jack Koerner, Dane Belton, Kaevon Meriweather, Dallas Craddieth, and Sebastian Castro ahead of him, but his athleticism and ability to play multiple positions (including Ca$h) has helped him earning meaningful reps this fall, and Koerner mentioned Bracy as a freshman who could sneak into the rotation in 2020. Whenever Bracy does work his way onto the field, the early signs make it clear that, like Petras, his future with the program is extremely bright.