MOUNT VERNON - Cornell knew that any chance for success against unbeaten Lake Forest (Ill.) would begin and end with stopping the Foresters' star tailback, Joey Valdivia.
The Rams never got started.
Valdivia ran for 126 yards, four touch ... »
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THE DEPTH CHART
QB — Joel Lanning, jr., 6-2, 225; Jacob Park, so., 6-4, 205; Kyle Kempt, jr., 6-5, 220; Kyle Starcevich, so., 6-3, 220
NEXT MAN IN: D-I transfers waiting in the wings
Junior Joel Lanning is the guy. That much is clear. Sophomore Jacob Park was locked in a competition with freshman Zeb Noland for the backup job before the latter suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now Park, an athletic 6-foot-4 transfer who began his career at Georgia is the second option after Lanning.
Teams hope they don’t have to rely on their third-string quarterback, but in Iowa State’s case, its backup’s backup has experience as a squad member for two years in a Power Five program. In fact, junior Kyle Kempt has spent time in a lot of different places across the country growing up.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound signal caller was born in Washington, moved to Hawaii, relocated to Oregon and ended up playing high school football in Massillon, Ohio — the same town Iowa State coach Matt Campbell grew up in, although a different high school. Kempt took a scholarship to Oregon State and spent two years with the Beavers.
After a coaching change that saw Mike Riley go to Nebraska, Kempt transferred to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas before he got connected with Campbell.
“I actually visited a Toledo game, I think it was Western Michigan was their last game maybe,” Kempt said. “I was there that Friday and the next day he took the Iowa State job. I was pretty much destined to come here.”
Kempt was following Campbell to any destination, even at the expense of paying his way through school. He’s a walk-on with the Cyclones and knows he’s behind Lanning and Park, but has given Iowa State quality looks as a third option.
“Kyle has done an excellent job from a mental standpoint,” said quarterbacks coach Jim Hofher. “That has to be his game. To be smart, understanding, quick-twitch decisions, that’s going to help him perform at his best.”
Everybody returns next season. Lanning, Park and Kempt will all be back and the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Noland will be healthy with a mentally beneficial redshirt season under his belt. Park, who was a four-star recruit out of high school, will have an added year in Iowa State’s offensive scheme and could be a more legitimate option to start.
Then there’s current Waterloo West quarterback and verbal ISU commit Devon Moore. He’s a true dual threat quarterback at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds and will add another body to a fully stocked position room.
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