Jucos begin Hawkeye careers

QB Sokol, a former Fighting Artichoke, should compete with Rudock in 2013

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Winter hit Iowa just as the new junior-college quarterback and former Fighting Artichoke landed in Iowa City last week.

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 week, so there's no turning back now. Iowa Western Community College center Eric Simmons joins Sokol as Iowa's two mid-year transfers.

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.

Simmons was a full qualifier out of Madrid High School, so he was eligible to transfer after one semester at Iowa Western. Madrid is a Class A school, so Simmons wasn't heavily scouted. He wanted to raise his profile and did so in a season at IWCC.

He has four years to play three seasons at Iowa.

Quick slants

-- Sioux City East quarterback Alex Imming has decided to walk-on at Iowa next fall. The 6-3, 205-pounder will likely play wide receiver or safety for the Hawkeyes, HawkeyeReport.com reports.

-- Footballscoop.com posted an unconfirmed report this week that said LeVar Woods will remain defensive line coach at Iowa. Again, the site said it was unconfirmed. Footballscoop.com was ahead of the curve on former Iowa D-line coach Rick Kaczenski's departure to Nebraska.

-- Senior wide receiver Steven Staggs, a 6-3, 195-pounder, has been awarded a scholarship for his final season at Iowa. Staggs caught five passes for 45 yards last season.

Iowa is believed to have three to five more scholarships to award for the 2012 season.

-- Here are the Hawkeyes who have been invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22-28: linebacker Tyler Nielsen, offensive lineman Markus Zusevics, cornerback Shaun Prater, defensive tackle Mike Daniels and wide receiver Marvin McNutt.

Offensive tackle Riley Reiff, the No. 8 pick in ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper's first mock draft, could receive an invite as an underclassman at a later date. Reiff, 23, announced earlier this month he would forgo his final year at Iowa and enter the NFL draft.

This week, Zusevics and Prater are participating in the East-West Shrine Game. McNutt and Daniels will be in the Senior Bowl. Safety Jordan Bernstine is in the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday.

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