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Cade McNamara, Iowa’s golf-club-throwing QB, sees ‘the potential’ of Iowa’s offense
McNamara expects knee to be ‘100 percent’ by end of spring practices
IOWA CITY — Erick All Jr. was in for quite the surprise when he golfed for the first time.
The Iowa tight end — he was at Michigan at the time — went with his quarterback, Cade McNamara, and quickly saw McNamara’s competitiveness on display.
“He gets real mad,” All said. “He throws his club at the cart."
This was not a gentle toss either from the then-Michigan quarterback.
“He chucks them things,” All said. “I had to buy a set before I went, and I’ve seen how expensive them things were, and he’s just throwing them.”
The same quarterback competitive enough to chuck his golf clubs now is in the early stages of trying to accomplish a lofty goal at Iowa — “winning a Big Ten championship.”
“I’ve seen the potential,” McNamara said of the Iowa offense in his first media availability as a Hawkeye. “I’ve played Iowa before, and I know what the brand means. … I’m really excited for this year.”
From a physical standpoint, McNamara is recovering from knee surgery, but he has not experienced any “hiccups” in his recovery.
“I'm definitely going to be 100 percent by the end of spring ball,” McNamara told The Gazette.
He is “diving in” to the playbook while trying to build relationships with his teammates.
Defensive end Joe Evans already considers McNamara “one of the boys.”
"We do a lot of stuff together,” Evans said. “He’s a really good guy. ... Had to show him Pullman (Bar & Diner). He loves the Mo Burger.”
McNamara completed 63 percent of passes and threw 21 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in his Michigan career.
McNamara, a former all-Big Ten third-team selection, led the Wolverines to a College Football Playoff appearance in 2021.
He lost the starting quarterback battle at Michigan to then-sophomore J.J. McCarthy in 2022, though, and suffered the knee injury appearing as a backup in Michigan’s 59-0 win over UConn.
“That’s going to be an experience I’m going to take along with me, and it’s going to play a benefit in my life in the future,” McNamara said. “But honestly, I’m ready to move on.”
McNamara will be working to revitalize an Iowa offense that ranked 130th out of 131 teams in yards per game and 129th in yards per play in 2022.
The Reno, Nev., native’s relationship with Jon Budmayr, Iowa’s senior special assistant to the head coach, was a key factor in McNamara choosing Iowa.
Budmayr was on the Wisconsin staff when the Badgers gave McNamara his first Power Five offer.
“He’s a guy that I’ve had a relationship with for a really long time,” McNamara said. “I knew I could trust him.”
Iowa’s NIL infrastructure with the Swarm Collective also was a selling point although McNamara was primarily “chasing the best football situation for myself” rather than “chasing the money.”
“It was definitely beneficial in helping me make my decision,” McNamara said. “That’s something special that we have here at Iowa.”
As for McNamara’s other sport — golf — All has not scouted the courses in the Iowa City area yet.
“But I can’t wait,” All said.
Whenever All does hit the links, it’ll likely be with his club-throwing teammate.
“Thank God he’s sponsored by Ping,” All said. “That man is going to be running through some clubs.”