Welcome to our 2022 position previews, where we will spend the last few weeks before kickoff going over each position group for the 2022 team, this week will be the offense, and next week will be the defense. Let’s get things started by going over where Iowa State loses its biggest piece from last year, the QBs.
This is a big loss for Iowa State as they lose their best QB of all time, Brock Purdy. He holds virtually every passing record you can in school history with passing yards (12,170), total offense (13,347), touchdown passes (81), touchdowns responsible (100), completions (993), passing efficiency (151.1), and completion percentage as just a few of the big ones to his name.
Not only was he the best QB to ever come through Ames, but he is also a lot of fans’ favorite players to come through Iowa State, which makes this loss even tougher. When you talk about real culture changers in the Matt Campbell era, you can’t get very far down the list without talking about Purdy. He gave Cyclone Nation everything he had over his time in Ames and a place better than he found it.
Iowa State did not sign a QB in its 2021 class after Charles Wright flipped his commitment to Texas but Iowa State did grab a QB in this class to get things back on track. Iowa State got a commitment from Rocco Becht, a 3-star out QB out of Florida. Becht was lightly recruited to start the process but little steam towards the end, getting an ole miss offer just a few days before committing to Iowa State.
Leader Of The Pack
For the first time in what feels like forever, Iowa State will have a new QB at the helm. That man is Hunter Dekkers. It’s been four years since Iowa State had a new QB going into the season so this is definitely for them, but there are not many guys you’d rather have to take over for you than Dekkers.
The hype around this gunslinger has been real the past 2 off seasons with a lot of people saying he can be better than Purdy but we will see as that easily won’t be an easy feat. Dekkers does have a little experience under his belt and when he’s gotten the opportunity to play he’s looked the part.
In 2020 he came in during the 4th quarter of the Kansas game while Iowa State had a very comfortable lead and threw an absolute beauty of a ball 40+ yards for a TD to now-Memphis WR Joseph Scates. During the 2021 season he again saw action in the Kansas game and showed off his wheels by running one in from 40 yards out, Dekkers also saw a few drives in the OU game after Purdy went down after a huge hit to the head from an OU defensive linemen. Dekkers looked a little rattled at first as any new QB would vs a top 15 team on the road but quickly settled in after an early INT and kept the Cyclones in the game by later throwing a TD before Purdy made his return.
Dekkers brings a new element to the Iowa State offense they didn’t have with Purdy, and that’s a legit arm that can consistently throw the ball downfield. As great as a QB as Purdy was, if there was a weakness, it was arm strength. When Dekkers takes the field this year we will see more plays designed to hit deep vs what we’ve seen in the past.
The backups right now are 2021 walk-on QB Ashton Cook, and 2022 3-star recruit Rocco Becht. Becht was significantly higher rated than Cook coming out of high school, but so far in fall camp Cook has been QB2 and we’ve heard if he is needed at some point this year the coaching staff won’t be scared to put him in.
Cook was a walk-on coming to Iowa State after picking the Cyclones over some scholarship offers from smaller schools. Cook bet on himself and if he stays on this path will probably earn a scholarship from Iowa State shortly.
Like I said before, this is going to be Dekkers’ first year having the offense to himself. Like any new QB I expect him to be a little rusty early, maybe try and force a few things when he doesn’t need to, but overall I think Iowa State is in great hands going forward. Iowa States’ first opponent of the year is Southeast Missouri, which is 1000x better for a new QB like Dekkers than a super disciplined team like UNI. Southeast Missouri will be a great measuring stick to see just how rusty Dekkers is before he has to go into Kinnick the following week and take on Iowa.
One major thing for Dekkers this year is going to be his trust and chemistry with teammates. He needs to trust that the rest of the offense around him is going to do their jobs so he doesn’t have to try and be Superman. If a player with his natural ability is able to work efficiently within the flow of the offense and let his teammates do the rest of the work, that spells success for the good guys. If Hunter is impatient or feels as though he needs to make plays on his own, we may see a fair share of the turnovers we typically see from young players.
Early on, I see Iowa State being a potentially run-heavy team until Dekkers fully gets his feet under him. This will be talked about more in the RB position preview, but that room is not only very deep, but insanely talented. It would not be a surprise to see Manning lean on these guys more than usual early on to relieve some pressure that would be on Dekkers’ shoulders.
Overall, I expect Dekkers to have an impressive 2022 campaign. Despite some likely mistakes we typically see from a young QB, Dekkers finishing in the top 3 in total passing in the Big 12 would not be a surprise to me. He has the physical tools and plenty of weapons around him to make this dream turn into a reality going forward.