Hawks Looking West for QB

March 30, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

The Iowa Hawkeyes landed one of the nation’s best pro-style quarterbacks in the 2011 class and they are looking at one of the best in the 2012 class. According to Rivals.com, they have offered a scholarship to Bart Houston of De La Salle High School in Concord, California. (see his highlight videos below)

De La Salle his a rich tradition of winning in that state, so you know Houston is getting some good coaching as well as playing against some of the best high school football competition in America. Here is a free read on Houston.

Hmm..sounds pretty similar to a quarterback Iowa just landed in the Class of 2011 in Jake Rudock. Rudock played for national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida, and this year led them to the mythical national championship. Over the past two years he threw to receiving targets who are ticketed to big time programs like Miami and Florida State, so he’ll arrive at Iowa with a great degree of confidence, although he will be redshirting in 2011.

Some will wonder how seriously Houston will look at Iowa, given a few factors. One factor is Iowa just having landed Rudock; the best quarterbacks look at depth charts and while not everyone is scared off by competition, Iowa wouldn’t be the first school to have some challenges recruiting top flight quarterbacks the year after having just landed one. Another factor is Iowa’s lack of California players. Again, confident players don’t mind blazing their own trails, but Iowa has rarely gotten players from California during the Kirk Ferentz era.

However, Iowa’s success with a pro-style system and the fact they are one of the more prominent schools in the nation still running that system is likely going to pay some dividends on the quarterback recruiting front. The NFL is still a league that prefers quarterbacks with pro-style, under center experience, because the nature of spread offenses where quarterbacks are exclusively in the shotgun as well as running with the ball a lot is just not going to translate to the NFL where defensive linemen can be as fast as your quarterback. The dollars invested in quarterbacks will also cause teams to shy away from utilizing running skills at the pro level for risk of injury.

Iowa Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe talked about that factor a few years ago, how using the pro-style offense when most schools were going to some variation of a spread was going to wind up being a recruiting benefit for Iowa. It helped land Rudock, as he chose Iowa over Wisconsin and Miami.

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According to Rivals, Houston has offers from Arizona, Colorado, San Diego State, UCLA and Wisconsin in addition to an offer from Iowa. You’ll continue to see Iowa and Wisconsin in on the same pro-style quarterbacks across the nation as the programs run similar systems.

There is one big card yet to be played for Iowa and its future of recruiting some of the best pro-style quarterbacks to Iowa City, and that is next month’s NFL draft and the ensuing career of Ricky Stanzi.

Stanzi had offers from Miami of Ohio, Iowa and Purdue coming out of high school in the state of Ohio, and didn’t get a sniff from the home state Buckeyes. Stanzi came to Iowa and sat behind highly rated Jake Christensen for a few years before getting his opportunity. You know the rest of that story, and Stanzi really developed as a quarterback at the University of Iowa.

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Now, he is on the precipice of being the first Iowa quarterback taken in the NFL draft in more than two decades and the most highly drafted quarterback since Mark Vlasic in 1987. If Stanzi can sneak into the second round it would be great for him and great for Iowa, with a third or fourth round pick not being too shabby.

If you are a quarterback and you get picked in those rounds, the odds say you are going to make the team.

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The Iowa staff will certainly use Stanzi as a ‘model’ for what a pro-style quarterback can do at the University of Iowa, and that type of exposure and publicity will pay dividends for years to come…and perhaps with the recruitment of Bart Houston.

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