116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Brock Purdy started 46 consecutive games to close out his career as Iowa State’s most decorated quarterback.
Now he’s in prove-it mode with the San Francisco 49ers — and his first NFL preseason touchdown pass and 2-point conversion naturally caught the eye of his former backup, Hunter Dekkers.
“We were actually in the hotel watching the game,” Dekkers said of San Francisco’s recent 28-21 win over Green Bay. “It was actually really fun to watch.”
So is the competition unfolding behind Dekkers on the Cyclones’ fall camp depth chart.
ISU quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon said true freshman Rocco Becht, redshirt freshman and former Iowa City Regina star Ashton Cook, and transfer Nate Glantz — the 2020 NJCAA offensive player of the year — are all squarely in the mix.
“The promising thing is that there’s been great competition with everybody,” Gordon said.
Dekkers likes what he sees, too.
“All those guys behind me have been battling hard and playing really well, so it’s been fun to see,” Dekkers said.
Becht and Cook share the good fortune of growing up as sons of former NFL tight ends. Anthony Becht caught 21 touchdown passes in 11 seasons. Marv Cook starred at Iowa before becoming a two-time Pro Bowler as an NFL player.
Both Becht and Cook coached their sons in high school, as well — giving them another leg up in terms of understanding what’s expected as they climb up another level.
“I think that goes a long way just for a quarterback because you learn how a quarterback is supposed to lead and how he’s supposed to act,” Gordon said. “I think they learned that at a young age from their fathers and you can’t have a substitute for that.”
Gordon said all three primary backup candidates bring something different to the offense.
Becht, he said, is the most like Purdy in terms of all-around skills. Cook started slowly this spring, but “he just kept coming.”
“He kept getting better, learning more, getting more confident, more comfortable in what we were doing,” Gordon said. “By the end of the spring he was a completely different player than what he was in spring practice one or two.”
As for Glantz?
“He’s a guy that has a strong arm,” Gordon said. “He’s a really good runner when he has a cache to pull the football down and run with it, and he’s capable of extending plays and turning a broken play into something big. So he brings that element for sure.”
But who would be the No. 2 quarterback right now? The competition is so tight, that’s impossible to say. Gordon called it “unsettled,” but that’s far from unsettling, given what each potential backup can bring to any given situation.
They, like Dekkers, must be ready for anything. Dekkers is the clear starter at this point, even as the 6-4 redshirt sophomore is preparing for his first career start in the Sept. 3 season opener against Southeast Missouri State at Jack Trice Stadium. The strong-armed former West Sioux star is leaner, faster and eager to prove what he’s capable of doing — playing, not watching, as he ascends the Big 12 stage.
“I think there are definitely certain parts of my game that (are) underrated, that people haven’t seen just because I haven’t been on the field (much),” Dekkers said. “So I think that will be on display this season.”