Winter hit Iowa just as the new junior-college quarterback and former Fighting Artichoke landed in Iowa City in mid-January.
But it’s OK, Cody Sokol was born in Des Moines and lived there through elementary school. Plus, he’s signed his national letter of intent and will begin his career with the Hawkeyes this semester, so there’s no turning back now.
Sokol, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, had seven offers, including Arizona and Maryland. At Scottsdale Community College — yes, the Fighting Artichokes — Sokol threw for 3,807 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He earned first team all-region, first team all-conference and second team all-America.
Iowa’s pro-style offense attracted Sokol. Yes, his numbers at Scottsdale last season suggest “sling it,” but he knows pro style is what would give him the best chance to play in the NFL.
“We were air raid and shotgun, not a whole lot of play action,” Sokol said. “I like to throw the ball. I feel like I can make plays with my feet, but I want to pass.”
Iowa looked at Sokol when he was a senior at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. He ended up going junior college after suffering a a broken foot the third game of his senior season.
“I was a player who needed to show schools some good senior film,” Sokol said. “Missing those first three games hurt me, so Scottsdale knew I had some interest from big schools and offered me a full ride.”
Jucos aren’t usually brought in to redshirt, but that is where Sokol likely is headed for 2012.
He has three years to play two seasons. Iowa quarterback is settled for next season with James Vandenberg back for his senior year. Vandenberg passed for 3,022 yards, 25 TDs and just seven interceptions. He’ll be backed up by senior John Wienke and redshirt freshman Jake Rudock, who, essentially, was liked better as a QB by Iowa coaches than A.J. Derby, who moved to linebacker mid-season and subsequently transferred.
“Right now, the plan that’s laid is that I redshirt,” Sokol said. “One of the reasons Iowa liked me is that I had three years to play two. I’ll go in and compete and anything can happen, but the plan now is to redshirt.”
This would give Iowa healthy quarterback competition between Sokol and Rudock in 2013.
Last season, Sokol broke former SCC quarterback Tim Rattay’s single-game passing records with 542 yards and seven touchdowns. Rattay went on from SCC to star at Louisiana Tech and play in the NFL.
Again, nothing out there in the form of what I would call a scouting report.
Here’s a link to a signing-day type of story from the Ahwatukee Foothills News, which is the coolest-sounding newspaper on the planet.
What Iowa coaches said
Head coach Kirk Ferentz: I think in Cody’s case, it’s a little bit like recruiting Brad Banks. We weren’t intentionally looking for a junior-college player at that position, necessarily. But we did screen as many quarterbacks as we could. We really felt good about Cody as a football player. Research led us to find out he has some roots in Iowa. He was born here. Moved out of here in elementary school, but his mom grew up here and he has a lot of family members back here, so it was a good fit that way. One thing that was critical to us, we were hoping he would be hopeful to redshirting next year, if he is. That doesn’t mean he will. He’ll compete just like James and Jake and John. But that was part of the understanding. We wanted to make sure he was open to that. He was. I think he’s looking at the big picture as well. So that worked out beautifully.
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: He’s more comfortable in a pro-style offense. He’s got family in Iowa. We weren’t looking at a junior college quarterback, but he’s been in our camp. He was a person we felt comfortable with. He bridges that gap between classes a little bit. There’s a void in there [between seniors Vandenberg and Wienke and redshirt freshman Rudock]. He gives you experience at the quarterback position. He has played college football. He gives us a guy to compete and back up James this spring. Just having depth at that position is a huge positive.
What I think
Sokol probably redshirts this season and jumps in with both feet in 2013, when Iowa should have some experience on the offensive and defensive lines and will need a brand-new QB. Rudock and Sokol will go at it. Maybe the most interesting thing, in my opinion, is Sokol feels comfortable as a drop-back passer, but played in a passing spread at Scottsdale. And played well. It might not be a factor in his career at Iowa (it won’t be a factor in his career at Iowa), but interesting nonetheless.
Of course, if Vandenberg is hurt, then all bets are off.
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