INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
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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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