Recruiting report: Iowa looking to add quarterback

No commitments yet, but no reason to panic

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By Tom Kakert,

In an ideal world, Kirk Ferentz would like to have a quarterback in every recruiting class.

We all know the ideal world sometimes doesn’t work as planned and right now the Hawkeyes sit without a commitment from a signal caller for the 2012 recruiting class that will sign in early February.

But, that hardly means the Iowa coaches are pushing any panic buttons, nor should they.

Iowa certainly wants to add a quarterback this year based on the simple fact that next year James Vandenberg and John Wienke will be entering their senior seasons. The only other quarterbacks currently listed on the roster after Vandenberg and Wienke would be A.J. Derby and Jake Rudock. Both are certainly highly touted prospects, but the bottom line is you need depth beyond just two players at the position and ideally you would like to have a third quarterback not arriving on a college campus in the fall of 2013.

One thing that comes into play with the quarterback position, probably more than any other position, is the depth chart and the talent just ahead of a possible recruit on that depth chart. Quarterback recruits look at it, study it, and while they are certainly competitive and believe in their abilities, they also don’t want to get stuck behind one or two other players for two or three years.

Fact is, Iowa added Derby two years ago and he has already risen to the number two spot on the depth chart and Rudock was a highly touted prospect out of Florida that the Hawkeyes signed last February.

If you want a bit of a history lesson on how you have to be patient in quarterback recruiting after landing a highly touted prospect at the position the previous year, look no further than 2006. Iowa signed four star prospect Jake Christensen in 2005 and that certainly made finding a signal caller the next year more difficult, at least in terms of prospects with stars next to their name.

Iowa was patient and looked at a lot of senior film and in late November landed a verbal commitment from a kid out of Mentor, Ohio named Ricky Stanzi. The big boys weren’t knocking down Stanzi’s door and the only other Big Ten school to offer was Purdue, who came in late to the process. Iowa also signed Arvell Nelson, also from Ohio, in that class.

Five years later, it worked out pretty well for Iowa and for Stanzi, who is currently with the Kansas City Chiefs.

This year will be a similar circumstance when it comes to finding a quarterback in the Class of 2012. The Iowa coaches are still in senior film evaluation mode and the best guess is that they will find one or two prospects to move on sometime in November.

The big question is who will it be?

Right now there are a few likely candidates on the radar and some are already reserving their spots elsewhere in the event that the Iowa offer doesn’t come.

This week Joe Mollberg, a 6-foot-2 and 210 pound prospect from Detroit Lakes, Minn., made a verbal commitment to North Dakota. He also said after he committed that if Iowa offers, he would be switching his pledge.

Eric Siebenshuh is another name to watch in the coming months. The 6-foot-3 and 205 pound signal caller from Saint Charles, Mo., visited Iowa recently for the win over Pittsburgh and the Hawkeye coaches continue to stay in close contact.

Kirk Ferentz recently joked that Iowa should just recruit players that are already committed to Mid-American Conference schools and while he was kidding, they just might look in that direction before all is said and done. A couple of names to watch are Zach Terrell, a 6-foot-3 and 195 pound prospect from Fort Wayne, Ind., who is committed to Western Michigan or perhaps Mason Schreck from Ohio, who is currently a verbal pledge to Buffalo.

Iowa is also taking a look at Michael Villapiano, a 6-foot-2 and 215 pound prospect from Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. He visited Iowa earlier this fall and is also considering Vandebilt and Northwestern.

Perhaps Iowa will end up going back to Mentor, Ohio once again for a quarterback. The Hawkeyes have shown in interest in 6-foot-4 and 215 pound Tyler Eden, who visited Iowa City this summer.

Hey, it worked well the first time around in a similar situation, right?

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