Did we forget to write up this commitment? I think we did. If so, it's probably because it's felt like Ryan Boyle has been a part of this recruiting class for several weeks; the fact that he made it official on Wednesday was merely a formality. Ryan Boyle, a 6-2, 215 lb. QB out of West Des Moines
Valley Dowling, is a 3* recruit per 247 and Scout and a 2* recruit per Rivals. (ESPN hasn't ranked him yet.) He chose Iowa over offers from Western Michigan, Illinois State, and Montana State.
I have officially committed to be an Iowa Hawkeye! #EnterTheBlack
— Ryan Boyle (@Ryan_Boyle10) March 27, 2014
I have to admit, #EnterTheBlack is a pretty metal way to announce your commitment. Although in the RAWK stakes, I think it still pales in comparison to fellow QB commit Jack Beneventi's 'shop of himself as a giant.
Boyle's commitment to Iowa is kind of weird -- but interesting -- for a host of reasons, so let's try to unpack them. For one, he's a rare commit from the Des Moines area. Despite being the most populous region in our fair state and home to the CIML, conferences boasting many of the state's best high school football players (and teams), Iowa hasn't really had great success getting that talent to make the short trip east on I-80 to Iowa City. Prior to Boyle's commitment, the last Iowa commit from Des Moines was TE Jon Wisnieski back in the 2013 class. So it's very good to see Iowa making more inroads into that area; hopefully that continues to pay dividends in the coming years.
But Boyle's commitment is also strange because... well, Iowa already has a quarterback in this class, the aforementioned Jack Beneventi. (Hell, they already had two if you count Drew Cook, although I still believe his versatility will ultimately land him somewhere else on the roster.) It's unusual to recruit two quarterbacks in the same class -- especially when you already have four scholarship quarterbacks on campus (Rudock, Beathard, Shimonek, and incoming freshman Tyler Wiegers). Technically, Iowa could have six (!) scholarship quarterbacks on the roster come September 2015.
Boyle also looks like a slightly different type of quarterback than the sort that Iowa has recruited lately. Wiegers and Beneventi are more traditional pocket-passers: tall, rangy, fairly strong-armed. That's not really Boyle, as The Gazette's Marc Morehouse explained:
Coming back from a torn ACL his sophomore year, Boyle last season completed 119 of 187 (63.6 percent) for 1,833 yards, 21 touchdowns and just three interceptions. As a runner, Boyle also racked up 1,332 yards and 24 touchdowns.
So, two quarterbacks? Yes, but two very different quarterbacks.
As the numbers from his junior season show, Boyle is a dual threat quarterback. At 6-1, he also doesn't have the classic pro-style QB's height. That's Beneventi, a 6-6, 190-pounder from Benet Academy in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
So is Boyle's recruitment a sign that Greg Davis has "won" the war for the soul of Iowa's offense and the age of the dual-threat quarterback is dawning (or re-dawning; miss you, Brad Banks) at Iowa? Well, maybe. But probably not. (For what it's worth, 247 and Rivals both consider him a pro-style QB, 1300 rushing yards be damned.)
Boyle may be insurance in case one (or more) of Iowa's existing quarterbacks (or quarterback commits) decides to head elsewhere in search of playing time or a less-congested depth chart (an outcome which seems plausible). Or he may just be a quarterback prospect that the Iowa staff really liked; 247 likes him as a QB prospect more than Beneventi and after watching some of his highlights, it's not hard to see why one could feel that way.
That would certainly explain why they offered him this early in the process. Given Boyle's recruiting rankings (solid, not great) and offers (#MACtion!), he seems like the sort of prospect who might have been available for Iowa to grab late in the process, in December or January. But it's also possible that some strong showings on the summer camp circuit and an excellent senior season on top of his already-very good junior season would attract more attention from other schools. An early offer (and subsequent verbal commitment) isn't going to put the brakes on that, but it is a great indication of Iowa's firm interest in Boyle. And for his part, Beneventi doesn't seem to be too put off by the addition of a direct competitor like Boyle.
Congratulations to the newest Iowa commit @Ryan_Boyle10!
— Jack Beneventi (@JackBeneventi13) March 27, 2014
Recruiting two quarterbacks in the same class is still odd -- especially when this looks like it might be slightly smaller class than we've seen lately -- but it also plays into something that's been a recurring theme in Ferentz's comments and decisions of late: the need for competition at every position. That was the stated reason behind the otherwise-baffling decision to add a second scholarship punter last year and it would certainly make sense to apply that same logic to the most important position on the field. Bring on the quarterbacks and let the competition begin -- may the best man win.