IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s a move Iowa fans and media have speculated would happen for some time. That time has arrived.
Hawkeye sophomore Drew Cook has move from quarterback to tight end, head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed on Wednesday here at the football performance center. He leaves one crowded position for another one.
“When we started looking at Drew, that was one thought we had. If he isn’t a quarterback, he could potentially play another possession. But that was when he was a young man. He’s gotten better as a quarterback each and every year. He’s still doing a good job at that position,” Ferentz said.
“But we have a young group right now and there is a little bit of a divide that way. Rather than having him stay in that competition, we threw it out as a possibility to him. I think he can help our football team win sooner at that position than the other. It’s just a decision we kind of came to as a staff.”
Cook (6-5, 235) spent his first two seasons at Iowa behind center after starring at the position for Iowa City Regina High. He played a little defense and caught some passes for the Regals but mainly lined up at quarterback.
Cook will be following in the footsteps of his father, Marv Cook, who played quarterback at West Branch High before earning all-American honors as a Hawkeye tight end. The transition of the older Cook led onlookers to believe Drew would eventually catch passes instead of throwing them for the Hawkeyes.
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Head coach Kirk Ferentz and Ken O’Keefe, quarterbacks coach, have said this spring that the quarterback competition was a two-man race between Nathan Stanley and Tyler Wiegers. They said there was a large gap between the top two guys and the rest of the group, which included Cook and Ryan Boyle.
Wiegers served as C.J Bearhard’s backup in 2015. True freshman Nathan Stanley beat him out for the No. 2 job last fall. The duo has combined to throw 13 passes for 92 yards in limited time behind Beathard.
When asked about Drew Cook changing positions in the past, Kirk Ferentz has said it’s not something they had discussed as coaches. Obviously things changed this spring with Brian Ferentz taking control of the offense and O’Keefe coaching quarterbacks, the two roles held by Greg Davis for the last five seasons before his retirement this winter.
“You’re looking for athletic ability, frame, size. But most of all, and this is what’s always stood out to us about Drew, you’re looking for guys that think the right way. Guys that approach things the right way. Guys that are improvement driven, detail oriented. Drew Cook is that kind of guy,” Brian Ferentz said.
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“So when you talk about moving positions or making a change, he’s not a guy you worry about. He’s a guy that you know will jump in and he’s going to do the best you can. He does have physical attributes and he’s got a real chance to be successful there.”
Like quarterback, tight end is a deep position but not one with a lot of experience. Senior Peter Pekar, who topped the spring depth chart, has one catch for five yards in his college career while Noah Fant has nine receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. Jon Wisnieski, Nate Wieting, Nate Vejvoda, T.J. Hockenson and Shaun Beyer also a vying for playing time at the position.