Pro-style quarterback, meet pro-style offense.
St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback Jake Rudock sees himself as a pro-style quarterback. Iowa is a pro-style offense. Seeing that match, Rudock, a 6-3, 185-pounder, committed to the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
“I am going to the University of Iowa,” Rudock told the Miami Herald. “Great program, tremendous coaching staff and a chance to play on a team that fits exactly what I do.”
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is one of the top prep programs in the country. It’s in the national title hunt year in and year out. It’ll open the season against Dallas’ Skyline High at Cowboys Stadium.
Before Rudock, Aquinas ran a spread offense with veer-option quarterbacks. They changed to play to Rudock’s strengths.
“We’ve built it around him a little bit because of his size and his style of play,” said Aquinas quarterbacks coach Dave Bilitier. “He’s comfortable in the pocket with a really good arm.”
Rudock picked the Hawkeyes over Wisconsin, Colorado and Illinois. Memphis and Minnesota also offered. Wisconsin was the real competition here.
Bilitier said Rudock’s strength is his decision making and coachability. A lot of Aquinas’ passing game is built with the help of a wide receivers coach you might’ve heard of. His name is Cris Carter. Yes, that Cris Carter, of the Minnesota Vikings and NFL fame.
“Our offense likes to try to keep people off balance with quick decisions,” Bilitier said. “A lot of the patterns were put in by Cris Carter. A lot of them are deep patterns put in by Division I or NFL teams. Some are quick one-step passes, but some are out of shotgun with a three-step drop and are deep, developing patterns.”
Links -- Make no mistake, St. Thomas Aquinas out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is playing a different kind of high school football game than a lot of programs. The school might have a bigger budget than some DIII schools. Check this ESPN.com link for Rudock's record-breaking night against Camden County (Georgia). "How can you not love to play here with so many great players and all of this tremendous support," said Rudock. "It's everyone from the fans, to the coaches, to the administration. Everyone here is great."
Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Led prep team to district, regional state and national championship as a senior with perfect 15-0 record. 2) 2010 Florida High School Athletic Association Orange Bowl Committee Scholar Athlete Award. 3) Completed 157-242 pass attempts for 2,827 yards and 36 touchdowns, with three interceptions as a senior.
Ferentz on -- Iowa got in on Rudock before a crazy fantastic senior season. It paid off.
"I don't want to say he's this year's Marcus Coker but the parallel I would draw is when he was here in June, he was being recruited pretty heavily, but I'm just guessing he may have been recruited a little bit more heavily if he had not been committed this season," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We are thrilled. Just all of the intangible things that he possesses. You know, obviously we want guys that can throw the ball accurately and have to have requisite talent but all of the things that made us feel good and the fact that he led his team to a state championship, I think is real indicative to the young man he is, he's a great leader and humble guy and very, very modest and I would not say unassuming, but it's not all about him; but yet, he's the catalyst in my opinion, the success they have had, he played on a very good team, very well coached team and a big part of what they did."
More enthusiasm from Ferentz.
"When he came up here in June, he came up for a visit with his folks and to meet with the staff and take a look at the school," Ferentz said. "But we had a senior camp that day and he chose to go out and compete that day. We had already offered him the scholarship, it was not like a tryout or anything like that but he chose to go out there and compete and he was more impressive throwing the ball than us looking at him as a junior. To me it really showed that he was a really confident guy and believed in himself and boy, I tell you, we were thrilled when he did commit."
Iowa had to fight off Miami (Fla.) late. New Miami coach Al Golden seemed to target Rudock. The commitment seemed to be up in the air in mid-January.
"Again, Jake was the top guy on our board, a guy we were able to get done," recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson said. "I know people were worried that he was bouncing around, but he knew our commitment to him and I think he felt that same way about us throughout the process."
And here's a quick breakdown on how QB recruiting usually works (BTW, Iowa does want to bring in one QB a year):
"Usually, quarterback is like dominoes," Johnson said. "It happens early in the spring. Once one falls, they all kind of just slot themselves and you’re locked in. I know some staffs fall apart and some try to get back in on guys, which is what happened in Jake’s case. But for the most part, you don’t see quarterbacks making their announcements on signing day. They want to help build their classes, so they for the most part get things done early."
Projection is fun . . . Rudock is going to make a really great free safety.
Where he goes on the QB depth chart will be interesting to watch.
Presumably going into 2011, it's 1) James Vandenberg, 2a) John Wienke, 2b) A.J. Derby and then Rudock. That's junior, junior, redshirt freshman and true freshman.
Rudock will likely redshirt in 2011.