Iowa quarterback competition is “wide open”

Despite earning a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game in 2021, the Iowa Hawkeyes struggled to move the ball offensively, and it’s anybody’s guess who will be the starting quarterback looking ahead to the fall. During his National Signing Day press conference, head coach Kirk Ferentz said he sees a wide-open Iowa quarterback competition this spring.

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Spencer Petras began last season as the starting quarterback, but Alex Padilla took plenty of snaps throughout the season, and both are still on the roster. In Year 2 as a starter, Petras completed 57.3% of his passes for 1,880 yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Padilla completed 49.1% of throws for 636 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Petras and Padilla will certainly be in the mix to start in 2022, and Ferentz mentioned he’s excited to see last season’s third-stringer Joey Labas compete. Labas did not see any snaps last season, but he reportedly had a solid season on the scout team including bowl game prep.

While Iowa reached as high as No. 2 in the rankings, it was obvious there was a ceiling on how far the Hawkeyes thanks to one of the least efficient offenses in the country. Iowa finished last season ranked No. 121 in yards per play against FBS opponents, so it’s a miracle the Hawkeyes managed to win 10 games.

The Hawkeyes did not make any changes to the offensive coaching staff and have not landed a quarterback from the transfer portal but lost Deuce Hogan to the Kentucky Wildcats. It appears to be a three-man Iowa quarterback competition between Petras, Padilla and Labas this offseason.

Looking to the future of the quarterback position, Iowa signed Carson May, who’s rated as high as a 4-star prospect from the four major recruiting sites, in its 2022 recruiting class. The Hawkeyes also received a commitment from 2023 QB Marco Lainez III, who is also listed as a 4-star recruit.

Photo courtesy of Northwestern Athletics

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