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Iowa football 2023 winter position breakdown: Quarterback
Iowa’s quarterback room, led by Cade McNamara, will look different after busy winter in transfer portal
IOWA CITY — When it comes to quarterbacks, the transfer portal giveth and the transfer portal taketh away.
The Iowa football team gained two quarterbacks from the portal and lost two quarterbacks to the portal.
The turnover, along with Spencer Petras’ shoulder injury, means Iowa’s quarterback room will look significantly different in 2023.
Here is an early look at the position in the latest part of The Gazette’s winter position breakdown series:
Alex Padilla and Carson May were Iowa’s two departures via the transfer portal at quarterback.
Padilla appeared in 13 games in an Iowa uniform since 2020 and completed 49 percent of his passes while throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions.
He only saw time in two games in 2022 — both in reserve roles — despite starter Spencer Petras’ subpar season.
May, a true freshman, did not see any game action in his lone season in Iowa City.
Joe Labas is expected to return for his sophomore year after making his collegiate debut in the 2022 Music City Bowl.
Labas went 14-for-24 with one touchdown and no interceptions despite practicing almost exclusively on the scout team until bowl prep began.
The aforementioned Petras is staying with the Hawkeyes at least through the spring as he rehabs his shoulder. He tore his rotator cuff and labrum in his throwing shoulder in Iowa’s Nov. 25 loss to Nebraska.
His reliability, even in a backup role, is not certain as he continues a lengthy rehab process. He told reporters before the Music City Bowl it would be at least six months, “likely longer,” before he “can really throw like I can throw.”
Who’s joining the mix
Cade McNamara was not only the highest-profile addition at Iowa this winter, but one of the highest-profile additions via the transfer portal across the country.
The former Michigan quarterback lost the starting job to J.J. McCarthy in 2022, but he was a third-team all-Big Ten honoree on a 2021 team that went to the College Football Playoff.
McNamara completed 63 percent of his passes and threw 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his Michigan career.
Iowa also added ex-Wisconsin quarterback Deacon Hill from the portal. Hill appeared in one game with the Badgers but did not attempt a pass.
Marco Lainez will arrive in the summer as Iowa’s quarterback from the 2023 high school recruiting class. He has three-star ratings from 247Sports, Rivals and On3 Sports.
Way-too-early two-deep projections
It’s no secret McNamara is the presumed No. 1 quarterback next year, barring unforeseen circumstances.
“Cade is going to be — well, we’ll see how Joe and the rest of the guys do — but Cade’s likely going to be our quarterback next year,” Petras said last month.
As McNamara recovers from knee surgery, Labas and Hill should have no shortage of spring practice reps.
- Cade McNamara
- Joe Labas
Iowa received an infusion of talent with the addition of McNamara via the transfer portal, and Labas proved to be a capable option after leading the offense in the Music City Bowl.
The biggest question facing McNamara will be how much support will he have around him. He has two tight ends who could potentially play in the NFL, but question marks remain at wide receiver, offensive line and play-calling.