Iowa is not known for it’s offense. Or perhaps more accurately in 2022, it was known for it’s poor offense. But the Hawkeyes haven’t always been a national story line in a bad way.
While Iowa has almost never been an offensive juggernaut under head coach Kirk Ferentz, they have had some very good offenses over the years. Those have typically been centered around a strong ground game, but they’ve also typically had a quarterback at the helm with some moxie and an ability to extend plays with his legs.
There may be no better description for New Jersey quarterback Marco Lainez III, who today made it official with the Hawkeyes, signing his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Iowa.
Lainez is perhaps the most complete picture of what the Hawkeye staff has been searching for in a QB over the last several recruiting cycles. For as many struggles as Iowa has had under offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, they have begun to recruit more mobile QBs in his tenure with each iteration looking more and more like that long lost hero: Brad Banks.
Now, nobody is going to match the former Heisman runner-up and that’s not the comp for Lainez, but at 6’3” and 225 pounds the New Jersey product has a prototypical frame for a QB and maneuverability in the pocket that will bring some memories of the Banks days to mind. He’s a pass-first QB who doesn’t have the big arm of the departing Spencer Petras, but makes up for it with a great accuracy, escapability and an ability to go beyond extending plays and flat out make a play with his legs.
As a senior at The Hun School, Lainez completed an absurd 78% of his passes (97/125) for 2,182 yards and 23 TDs with 5 INTs. He also ran for 573 yards and 5 more TDs on the ground averaging 17.3 yards per carry.
On film, he shows an ability to play from under center and out of the gun. Most notably for Hawkeye fans, he shows an ability to make throws on script and in rhythm or when pushed off script, out of the pocket and in the face of pressure. There is adequate arm strength to make most of the throws Iowa has in the playbook (though perhaps lacks just enough to force Iowa to pull the mind numbing short out to the wide side of the field).
With the Hawkeyes adding Michigan transfer Cade McNamara, who has two years of eligibility remaining, look for Lainez to redshirt in 2023 and add depth in 2024 before being in line to push for the starting role as a redshirt sophomore in 2025.
Welcome aboard, officially, Marco Lainez!