The Iowa Hawkeyes, who were off to a tremendous start on the recruiting trail, have finally hit a bit of a slow spell. That is to say it’s been nearly three weeks since Iowa last received a commitment. While that may be painfully long for Hawkeye fans in a world of instant gratification, it’s to be expected given the recruiting world we live in where recruits are unable to get on campus and coaches are unable to do in person recruiting trips.
Today, the waiting is over, however, as the Hawkeyes quenched their thirst in this drought. It comes in a big way as Iowa lands their signal caller for the class of 2021 with the addition of Ohio native Joey Labas.
I am extremely excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at IOWA UNIVERSITY⚫️ I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. Truly blessed and grateful for this amazing opportunity! #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/ybYuYlLI6C— Joey Labas (@joey_labas12) June 11, 2020
Labas, a native of Broadview Heights, Ohio (outside of Cleveland) was formerly a Ball State commit. That changed last week.
After some long contact with the Iowa coaching staff, including sending updated throwing video to QB coach Ken O’Keefe, the Hawkeyes extended an offer in late May. The staff has by now perfected the art of the virtual tour but without the ability to take official visits, the Labas family took it upon themselves to find out more about Iowa two weekends ago. They made the trek to Iowa City to tour the town and what was open on campus. Coaches were of course unable to be present and most facilities remain closed on campus, but what Labas saw was enough.
Last Wednesday, Ball State was out. Today, Iowa is in.
So what are the Hawkeyes getting in their quarterback in the class of 2021? For starters, an incredibly hard worker who is willing to fight through adversity. Labas broke his wrist on his throwing arm as a sophomore at Brecksville Broadview Heights. Rather than giving up hope on a football future, he learned to throw left-handed.
Now, that wrist is fully healed and Labas is continuing to refine his arm. On film, the arm looks decent, though he does seem to put quite a bit of air under his deep throws, but what really stands out are his legs. At 6’3” and 190 pounds, Labas moves really well. He’s listed as a pro style QB, but he’s as close to dual threat as Iowa has had in some time. Watching him avoid tacklers with that long frame and knowing where he hails from, it’s hard not to make the comp to former Hawkeye Ricky Stanzi.
As a junior, Labas threw for 2,351 yards on 174 of 266 passing (65.4%) with 23 TDs and just 2 interceptions. He also added 486 yards rushing and 9 TDs on the ground.
While Rivals only ranks Labas as a 2-star, likely driven at least in part by that wrist recovery, 247 Sports rates Labas as a 3-star and notes he’s likely to continue rising the rankings. Other than the offers from Iowa and Ball State, Labas had 12 other offers from virtually the entire MAC and a handful of other programs.
Labas becomes Iowa’s 16th commitment in the class of 2021 and the 8th for Brian Ferentz’s offense. He’s the first in the class from the state of Ohio. Iowa’s class now stands at 10th nationally per Rivals and 13th according to 247 Sports. They come in 4th in the Big Ten according to both services.
Welcome aboard Joey Labas!