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CHICAGO — Iowa is officially in the market for a No. 3 quarterback.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback Nic Shimonek has decided to transfer. Also, linebacker Laron Taylor also will transfer from Iowa.
Rivals.com reported that Shimonek will walk on at Texas Tech, which is closer to his home in Corsicana, Texas.
“Nic has just been tremendous,” Ferentz said. “He’s a good quarterback and a very good prospect. I think it was as simple as he looked up and saw two players ahead of him who’ve been on the field. It’s not a case of him being afraid of competition. I think it’s being realistic and thinking I’m going to try to find a faster path to the field.”
Also, wide receiver Damond Powell has had surgery for a sports hernia. Ferentz said Powell, who had 12 catches for 291 yards and two TDs as a junior last season, will be out mostly through camp and possibly some early games.
“Worst-case scenario would be Big Ten play [for Powell’s return], but I’m hoping before then,” Ferentz said.
With Shimonek’s departure, Iowa now has three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — junior Jake Rudock, sophomore C.J. Beathard and incoming freshman Tyler Wiegers. Iowa has three quarterback commitments in the 2015 class — Jack Beneventi, Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook. So, Iowa has a stable, it’s just cutting it kind of close for No. 3 this season.
Ferentz said this doesn’t necessarily mean Wiegers will forego his redshirt and play this season.
“In a perfect world, we’ll be able to make it through with two quarterbacks,” Ferentz said. “If not, guess what, you’re in there [on Wiegers and redshirting].”
Speaking of quarterbacks ... Ferentz ended spring practice saying that Beathard could be in for playing time this season, and not the playing time he had last season, which came only when Rudock suffered knee injuries in three games.
The Beathard time in games remains in the conversation, Ferentz said Monday.
“We’re not trying to placate him or appease him, we’re trying to win,” Ferentz said. “If we think it can be effective for us, we’ll try to weave it in a smart way.”
Ferentz compared the possibility to the way Iowa used Brad Banks in 2001, splitting time with Kyle McCann. Banks added a dimension of hurting teams with his feet. Where do Rudock and Beathard contrast?
“There’s a difference there, they’re unique in their own ways,” Ferentz said, “but the good news is they’re both good quarterbacks.”
New rules ... A new NCAA rule gave on-field coaches eight hours per week in the offseason to interact with players, with up to two of those hours available for football-related meetings or film review — provided those players were enrolled in summer school or met a minimum grade-point average requirement.
Ferentz said Iowa never went more than four hours a week with its players.
“We used probably an hour and a half and three hours total before the Fourth of July,” he said. “I thought it was important for our coaches to be normal citizens for a while. In a nutshell, we were probably under four hours for the entire summer. That might be wrong, that might be right, but my feeling was the strength-and-conditioning staff has the guys for the summer time. I enjoyed the opportunity to watch the guys train, but as far as working with our players, I’m not real big on that thought. I’m not sure it’s a good thing nationally.”
Last season, a core of Iowa players took video study in its own hands. The defense credited a jump in its performance to that study. The 2014 group has taken a similar outlook.
“I think there’s a lot of value in us not holding their hands all year-round,” Ferentz said. “I think it’s important for them to get away from us and for us to get away from them. I think that’s important for everybody.”
One recruit didn’t make it to Iowa City ... Running back Markel Smith (St. Louis) signed with Iowa in February, but didn’t qualify academically and so now, according to HawkeyeReport.com, is headed to prep school at Milford Academy (New Berlin, N.Y.).
“We knew there was a chance that wouldn’t work out,” Ferentz said. “We knew that and it was a decision in the recruiting process to follow through.”
Of course, there are no guarantees, but former Hawkeye Shonn Greene went the Milford path. In 2008, he set Iowa’s season records for yards (1,850) and TDs (20).
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