It’s no secret that Iowa State has had their fair share of quarterback issues in the past. The Cyclones have searched high and low for a young man to carry the the torch for more than a few games at a time since the departure of Austen Arnaud. That search may finally be over. Jacob Park is the consensus starter and will look to cement his place as one of the best to play quarterback for Iowa State.
Let’s dive into the quarterbacks a bit more in the first installment of our preseason football position previews.
Starter: Jacob Park
Jacob Park took over the starting spot midway through the season last year and never let go. Park threw for over 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns, while only throwing 5 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 138.5, the highest by a Cyclone quarterback since Brett Meyer’s 138.9 in 2005.
Last season, Park was labeled as Iowa State’s pocket passer. Not initially known for his running game, he progressed in the read-option as his playing time increased last season. If Park has continued to make strides in that department during fall camp, it will give Iowa State a complete, all-around offense to work with. Park’s ability to buy time with his feet will be very important while the offensive line is learning to gel as the season rolls on.
Park will have one of the deepest wide receiver groups in the country at his disposal, lending itself to some likely improved statistics for the quarterback, given he now as an entire offseason under his belt as the starter. The offense will only go as far as Jacob Park’s arm will take them, but he has the talent to be one of the best in the league. If Park continues to realize his potential under Matt Campbell, Iowa State will be putting up a ton of points this season.
Statistical Prediction for Jacob Park
3,300 Yards, 25 TD’s and 9 INT’s
Behind Park there is a lot of unknown. Zeb Noland and Kyle Kempt have virtually no experience playing in a live college football game, but will be entrusted with the most important position in the game should Park need to step out. Kempt came in last season in mop up duty and completed two passes, and Noland is coming off a missed season due to a torn ACL.
Noland and Kempt are deadlocked in a battle for the top backup spot, but no word has come out of camp to this date regarding which quarterback is currently at the advantage. Noland may have been the guy last year if it wasn’t for his injury, but media reports during the spring and summer were that Kempt was much improved. Regardless of which quarterback wins the backup positin, we should only hope Jacob Park can stay healthy all season.
It should be noted that freshman Devon Moore was also in the battle for the backup spot, but fell to injury last week and will miss the entire 2017 season.
We all know Joel Lanning has made the switch to middle linebacker. Matt Campbell has said that Lanning will play offense this year as well, but where? If I had to guess now, Lanning may appear in some run packages at the quarterback position with the threat of the ability to throw. However, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Lanning at another position, such as an H-back. Either way, many Cyclones are excited to see how Coach Campbell can integrate the multi-talented senior into an already potent offense.
Stacking Up Against The Big 12
Park ranked as the 8th best quarterback, in terms of passing yardage, in the Big 12 last season with only a small sample size. He also had the 5th best passer rating in the league. The Big 12 will be loaded once again with great quarterbacks, but Park looks like he could rise towards the top with a strong season. Here is how Park stacked up against the rest of the league.
Quarterback is the most important position for many football teams, and Iowa State is no different. Without a doubt, Jacob Park is the key to any success Iowa State will have in 2017.