The key to any successful Iowa football season is competent play at the quarterback position. The Hawkeyes tend to look for slightly different qualities than some college programs, valuing smart, heady players who are able to get Iowa into the right plays and reading defenses pre-snap along with the natural ability to throw the ball.
Iowa certainly got that with their quarterback commit in the class of 2021, a 3-star from the state of Ohio. “Long ball Labas” as the staff has apparently dubbed him, is a smart player who can make strong reads and sling it downfield.
Today, he’s officially a Hawkeye.
Long Ball Labas Joins the QB Room.@joey_labas12 #Swarm21 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/LlMffp4SDY— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 16, 2020
As a prospect, Labas checks a lot of the boxes for Iowa. At 6’3” and 190 pounds, he’s got a build reminiscent of another former Hawkeye from Ohio - Ricky Stanzi. He’s a pocket passer with some ability to get out and buy time as needed.
During his senior season, Labas threw for 2349 yards and 16 touchdowns with just 3 interceptions while completing nearly 68% of his passes. He added 190 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.
On film, you can see what the Iowa staff likes about him. He shows an ability to make throws across the passing tree, including while stepping up in the pocket and on the move to avoid the rush. Perhaps most exciting for Hawkeye fans is the touch he shows on deep passes where his highlights show plenty of loft with the ball turning over and dropping into the basket.
Those qualities earned him 13 other offers beyond Iowa’s. Those mostly came from MAC schools and mid-majors. That was in part dictated by an injury he suffered earlier in his career where he was forced to learn to throw left handed. And he did. He’s all healed up now and appears like a quality get for the Hawkeyes. Labas was previously a Ball State commit before flipping to Iowa back in June.
Labas is Iowa’s only commit from the state of Ohio in the class of 2021 and the only quarterback expected to sign in the early period.
Welcome aboard, officially, Joey Labas!