Iowa’s Spring Quarterback Room

Previewing Iowa's Spring quarterback room reveals competition and a chance for a new name at the top of the depth chart in 2022.
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The Iowa Hawkeye quarterback room became an area of question beginning mid-season last year. Despite a 10-2 regular-season record, there were many observable issues with the production levels on offense and some controversy regarding the guy under center. The Hawkeyes went back and forth between Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla in the back half of the season but still muscled their way to Indianapolis and a New Year’s Day bowl game. Iowa’s Spring quarterback room will contain mostly the same guys, but all with an additional year under their belt. There will be some competition, however, as the room also features a talented second-year quarterback, Joey Labas

The Veterans

Petras is 13-6 as a starter in a Hawkeye uniform. He showed he could do enough to put Iowa in a position to win football games consistently. However, his production levels dropped around mid-season last year, and he suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to the sideline. Padilla got the call and led Iowa to three straight victories, giving the 2021 season new life. The redshirt sophomore had more mobility in the pocket, but his passing statistics weren’t eye-popping. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing less than 50% of his passes last year. 

This offseason, Padilla announced he would not be entering the transfer portal and would stay with the Hawkeyes. There was a lot of talk regarding Padilla’s transfer portal value if he were to join another program. He has shown elusiveness in the pocket, and an ability to deliver great throws when he has time. Padilla will be a fourth-year junior next season, competing alongside Petras for the starting job. Petras is entering his fifth-year senior season as a Hawkeye but will have to compete against both Padilla and the young third option, Labas, to maintain his role as the starter.

Long-Ball Labas 

The guy to keep an eye on this Spring will be Labas. The second-year quarterback came to Iowa City as a high-three star recruit with a lot of talent. In December bowl game practice, head coach Kirk Ferentz mentioned Labas taking snaps with the twos. He added that Labas has been fun to watch improve, and is “just one of those guys.” That’s high praise coming from Ferentz, and it could mean a jump start for the young signal-caller in Spring ball. 

Labas’ build is similar to that of the former Hawkeye great, Ricky Stanzi. At six-foot-four-inches and 195 pounds, Labas has some room to get bigger but stands tall in the pocket. He has been dubbed the nickname “Long-Ball Labas” for his ability to make deep throws look effortless. Labas threw for 2,400 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior year of high school and now has a year of experience in the Hawkeye facilities. Players have commented on his competitiveness and presence at quarterback, and he turned heads as a member of the scout team last season. 

All signs point to Labas making a very real push to be in the mix for being named the starter for the 2022 season. However, he will have to beat out a couple of established veterans in the quarterback room.

Quarterback Greenhorns

The Hawkeye quarterback room features two additional guys without any playing experience, but each for different reasons. The first is Connor Kapisak, who walked on to the program in 2018. After not seeing any game action, he entered the transfer portal early in 2021 but rejoined the program following last season.

Carson May will be a true freshman after signing early with the Hawkeyes last December. The Oklahoma native threw for 107 touchdowns and nearly 9,000 yards in high school. May brings a lot of confidence into the quarterback room and will be a valuable addition to the competitiveness of the group. He is in a position similar to that of Labas last year and will have the opportunity to build a strong foundation as the future of the Hawkeye quarterback room.

Iowa’s Spring Quarterback Room

Evaluating Iowa’s Spring quarterback room reveals the opportunity for competition within the group. It was clear at the end of last season that there was flexibility in the mind of Ferentz. The seemingly rare use of two quarterbacks in one game for the Hawkeyes exposed the potential for a new name at the top of the depth chart next season. Three guys will have a legitimate chance to take the opening snap of 2022. The competition will begin with Spring ball for the quarterback position and could change the look of the Hawkeye offense.

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