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So Long, Farewell: Carson May

The Oklahoma native departs Iowa City after only one season.

Syndication: The Tennessean
Former Hawkeye Carson May is off to greener pastures.
George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Easy come, easy go - it’s the way of college athletics with the transfer portal and immediate eligibility for one time transfers. The Hawkeyes have been both a beneficiary and a victim of the portal this cycle and that’s largely par for the course around the country. To-date, more than 1,500 players have entered the portal with a flurry of activity expected in the coming weeks following the completion of bowl season.

On Tuesday, the Iowa Hawkeyes saw their first departure of the new year as true freshman quarterback Carson May announced his decision to enter the transfer portal.

May, a 4-star QB from Jones, Oklahoma, leaves Iowa after just one season without taking a snap. However, with the Hawkeyes landing Michigan transfer QB Cade McNamara in December, the likelihood of May earning meaningful minutes over the next year was virtually zero. Furthermore, McNamara has two years of eligibility remaining, meaning May could have been staring at two more seasons of backup work before even having an opportunity at a real competition for starter minutes.

Even then, Iowa has Ohio native Joe Labas in the fold ahead of May. Labas, who won the start in the Music City Bowl over the weekend, is set to be a sophomore in 2023 making him the current heir apparent to McNamara. And while Labas didn’t set the world on fire in Nashville, he clearly showed some flashes en route to completing 14 of his 24 pass attempts for 139 yards and one TD. Most importantly, Labas didn’t turn the ball over and allowed the defense to do what it does, all while extending plays and avoiding negative ones, save for a single sack by the Wildcats.

Despite the addition of McNamara and flashes shown from Labas, the loss of May is still meaningful for the Hawkeyes. Iowa will now enter spring practice with only Joe Labas on the roster as a scholarship quarterback available to practice. While McNamara will be a January enrollee and Spencer Petras revealed during bowl prep that he intends to stay in Iowa City through at least the spring, neither will be available for practice given current injuries and recovery timelines that push into the summer for the former and likely into next season for the latter. Add to that incoming freshman Marco Lainez is not expected to enroll in January and Joe Labas is staring at a LOT of spring ball practice reps.

Looking to 2023, the departures of May and Alex Padilla mean the Hawkeyes will only carry three scholarship quarterbacks into the season (assuming Petras opts to leave before the season). That’s not ideal given the potential for injury at the position and the need for someone to run scout team quarterback to help prepare the defense.

Beyond the lack of depth, May was a promising prospect. As a senior at Jones, he completed 63% of his passes with a staggering 8-1 touchdowns-to-interception ratio as he threw for more than 2,700 yards and 32 TDs with just four picks. he also ran for 433 yards and 11 more TDs on 151 carries. May was next in the apparent progression of Iowa QB targets, which have slowly begun to evolve from statuesque pocket-passer (Petras) toward more mobile options. Lainez is a bit more mobile than May and class of 2024 commit James Resar is even more mobile.

Now, the Hawkeyes will look for added contributions from a walk-on or perhaps hit the portal yet again for depth at the QB position. Though that is likely a tall task, there are recent examples of teams picking up backups via the portal (see Deuce Hogan to Kentucky, among others).

Best of luck to Carson May in his future endeavors.