After getting two (James Vandenberg and John Wienke) in ’08, the Hawkeyes skipped the 2009 class before picking up A.J. Derby and Rudock.
Derby moved to linebacker and then subsequently transferred. So, going into 2012, Iowa has two seniors (with Wienke more focused on punting this season) and a redshirt freshman.
Iowa signed juco Cody Sokol in December, so the depth chart regained some form. But still, Iowa wanted a prep QB.
That led to C.J. Beathard, who committed to Ole’ Miss in May 2011. Since then, Rebels coach Houston Nutt was fired and Hugh Freeze was hired and with him was coming a zone read offense. That didn’t play to Beathard’s strengths. He’s a classic dropback QB with a live arm.
So, he visited Iowa on the last recruiting weekend and pulled the trigger for the Hawkeyes on the Monday before signing day.
Iowa’s QB depth chart now goes: senior James Vandenberg, redshirt freshman Jake Rudock, juco Cody Sokol and incoming freshman C.J. Beathard.
“We didn’t necessarily start out looking for two quarterbacks, but that’s the way it ended up,” Ferentz said. “I think as a result of that, we’ll be in pretty good shape at that position for a while. That is certainly important on any football team.”
– The positive from ESPN.com: “Beathard is well groomed, polished and very accurate and we like how this scheme moves him from under center back to the shotgun and moves the launch point from time-to-time. Drops are smooth and quick, and his set up is balanced. He has deceptively good arm strength. He can drive the ball downfield and really lays it over the shoulder consistently. Throws the deep ball with good velocity and also gets great RPMs on deep-out routes. Is capable of throwing on the run when rolling both to the right and left. Puts good touch on the deep ball.”
And the pause from ESPN.com: “He is a thrower, not a runner and will not make many plays with his legs aside from buying some time. His delivery is quick and over-the-top, but can be a bit quirky at times; nothing alarming.”
What Iowa coaches said
Coach Kirk Ferentz: Sometimes when there are staff changes, fits aren’t as comfortable as they maybe were at one point. We benefited, quite frankly, from the staff change in that case.
Things happened pretty quickly. [Offensive coordinator] Ken O’Keefe went down and spent the day with C.J., and was really impressed with his football intellect, just his way of answering questions on the board and that type of thing. We already knew he was a tremendous player, and he turns out to be a tremendous young man. He came up this weekend, and fortunately he and his dad were really comfortable with what they saw in the program and school and community, and it worked out really well.”
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: He’s a pro-style quarterback and when the new staff came in [at Mississippi], he didn’t think he fit in that zone-option deal. . . . We were very impressed. He’s got very good feet, very good mobility. He’s a good athlete. He’s been successful from a drop-back standpoint. Very smart kid. We were very impressed.
What I think (FWIW, obviously)
I get a Vandenberg vibe. Some of you attach the offensive struggles to Vandenberg last season. I really think you need to look at the bigger picture. Iowa’s offense — the entire offense — struggled against good defenses. If Vandenberg was guilty of anything, it was locking in on a receiver, namely Marvin McNutt.
I see a similar build with Beathard, whose grandfather Bobby was a renowned GM in the NFL, and similar upside, which is something you can’t take away from Vandenberg. His numbers were tremendous. They didn’t translate to victories, but different parts of Iowa’s team didn’t translate to victory a lot of last season, either.
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