Iowa State isn’t a school known for producing high-caliber quarterbacks. Ames has had a few that’ve looked good at points (most notably the likes of Seneca Wallace and Sage Rosenfels), but good QB play has often eluded the Cyclones and that’s led to a program with one of the worst all-time records in Division I football.
Matt Campbell and his staff knew from day one that the talent of ISU’s passers needed to be kicked up a notch if they were to revive the program in Ames. In their first class last year, they brought in former 4-star prep Jacob Park and a young guy with a lot of promise in Zeb Noland. Park ended up taking the duty of primary signal-caller about halfway through the 2016 season and, at times, flashed the upside that caused him to be graded so highly coming out of high school.
With Park looking like “the guy” for the next two years in Ames, Campbell is tasked with building some depth at the most important position on the field. Joel Lanning will likely move to more of a utility player role in his final season in cardinal and gold, leaving Noland as the QB2 as a redshirt freshman headed into 2017. The staff is high on Noland, but the lone 2017 QB recruit coming to town has some skill and should push to move up the depth chart from day one.
Who’s that recruit, you ask?
A dual-threat quarterback out of Waterloo West High School, Devon Moore (@D_MooreQB2) is rated as the 2nd best in-state QB prospect this year, only behind Valley’s Rocky Lombardi, who is headed to play for the Michigan State Spartans. Moore is listed at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, so he will have the size to play Big 12 football from the moment he steps on campus.
In Moore’s senior season at Waterloo West, he completed 147 of 235 passing attempts for 2,331 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. Additionally, he rushed 21 times for 109 yards and five touchdowns.
Moore was the first recruit to EVER commit to Matt Campbell after the former Toledo head coach took the job at Iowa State in 2015. From Tommy Birch’s story at the Des Moines Register:
One of the coaches who took an interest in Moore was Tyson Veidt. Veidt was working for Campbell at Toledo at the time. Veidt invited the high schooler to a camp in northern Ohio.
The thrower was so impressive at the camp that Campbell offered him a scholarship.
Moore said Iowa and Minnesota also expressed interest in him, but most schools wanted to wait to see how he did during his junior season.
But, Moore was instantly impressed by Campbell, his staff and Toledo. The only downfall was that Toledo was so far away. Moore wanted a school closer to home.
Campbell was named the new [Iowa State] coach on Nov. 29. He was introduced a day later and went straight to work on Moore.
Veidt, who would become his assistant head coach and linebackers coach, was in Ames on Nov. 30 and reached out to Moore. Moore, who was at a sporting goods store buying equipment for the upcoming football season, was excited to hear from Veidt.
Moore wanted to know if the staff was still interested in him now that many of the coaches had moved with Campbell to Ames. Veidt said they were.
The lefty held true to his commitment and stuck with Iowa State over an offer list that included Illinois State, Toledo, and Minnesota.
Moore appears light on his feet in the pocket and possesses the ability to use his legs to gain yards. However, when left alone in the pocket, he also has the arm strength to punish defenses by hitting over the top. In addition to both of those skills, Moore’s film shows that he can throw running to his left or right, though he looks much more comfortable throwing when going toward his dominant hand.
The main part of Moore’s game that I’d like to see him improve upon is making his arm motion more consistent on the intermediate throws. He takes a split second longer to cock the ball back and unload it on a couple throws in his highlight reel, but that should be fixable as he adds more strength in college.
2017 Quarterback Outlook
As mentioned above, Jacob Park should be the undisputed starter for Iowa State the next two seasons unless he regresses or gets injured (knock on wood). Joel Lanning may be used in some short-yardage situations in the “Belldozer” formation as he was late in the season, but it’s likely that his days taking snaps at QB on 1st and 10 are over at ISU.
This is how the depth chart should look in 2017:
1. Jacob Park (RJr.)
2. Zeb Noland (RFr.)
3. Devon Moore (Fr.)
I expect that Moore will be redshirted in 2017, but he will be able to showcase his skills and battle against Zeb Noland over the next couple seasons to earn the right to be Park’s heir in 2019. Whichever guy can impress Campbell and staff the most between now and then should get the nod.
Will Devon Moore eventually become the starting QB at Iowa State? Leave your thoughts in the comments.