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No. 26 -- QB Jake Rudock
QUARTERBACK JAKE RUDOCK
Arrival: The 6-3, 200-pounder picked the Hawkeyes over Wisconsin, Colorado and Illinois. Memphis and Minnesota also offered. Wisconsin was the real competition. Then, a week or so before signing day, newly minted Miami (Fla.) coach Al Golden took a serious run only to be denied.
Rudock picked Iowa because he's a pro-style quarterback who wants to run a pro-style offense.
“Great program, tremendous coaching staff and a chance to play on a team that fits exactly what I do,” he said.
Before Rudock, St. Thomas Aquinas, a national prep power in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., ran a spread offense with veer-option quarterbacks. It changed to play to Rudock's strengths.
“We've built it around him a little bit because of his size and his style of play,” said Aquinas quarterbacks coach Dave Bilitier. “He's comfortable in the pocket with a really good arm.”
When Rudock visited in June 11, Iowa had already offered a scholarship, but Rudock still competed in Iowa's senior camp.
“It wasn't like a tryout or anything like that, but he chose to go out there and compete and he was more impressive throwing the ball than us looking at him as a junior,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said on '11 signing day. “To me, it really showed that he was a really confident guy and believed in himself and boy, I tell you, we were thrilled when he did commit.”
Takeoff 2012: Rudock will see the field this season. Senior QB James Vandenberg will play maybe 98 percent of the snaps (he threw 404 of Iowa's 412 pass attempts last season, exactly 98 percent). Take last season's numbers out of it, there should be opportunity for Rudock to get a decent look at playing time. Northern Illinois at Soldier Field might be iffy, but Northern Iowa and Central Michigan should afford some mop-up.
This is important. Rudock has a terrific shot to be the man in 2013. He has a year on juco transfer Cody Sokol, who'll likely redshirt this season and have two years to play beginning in '13. Rudock will have two years on C.J. Beathard, who arrives in Iowa City this fall as a true freshman.
In his ranking of the Big Ten's backup QBs, Big Ten Network blogger Tom Dienhart put Rudock at No. 12. "The 6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman is all about promise at this stage after arriving from Weston, Fla. If senior James Vandenberg goes down, it could be trouble for the Hawkeyes."
That about covers it. Rudock comes from a prep program that had a quarterbacks coach and had NFL star receiver Chris Carter coaching receivers. Of course, this is a whole new deal and that doesn't mean much.
If Rudock gets 2 percent of the snaps, that wouldn't be optimum, but his No. 1 job in '12 is mind melding with first-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis and building up his 200-pound frame.
The successes will be difficult to measure, but nonetheless important.