The quarterback position at Iowa State has been a shaky one of late. The days of Cyclone legends Seneca Wallace and Sage Rosenfels have been replaced by a revolving door of quarterbacks. Last season, Sam Richardson limped his way through eight starts before being replaced by Grant Rohach.
Rohach provided a few bright spots as he starting the last four games. The Redshirt freshman threw back-to-back 300 yards games in the final two games of the season, both wins, albeit against fellow Big 12 bottom dwellers Kansas and West Virginia.
Given that information, one could assume that Rohach had secured the starting job going into fall camp this season, but ISU coach Paul Rhodes has been adamant about the fact that it has been an open quarterback competition. And given the numbers, that makes sense. Even though Rohach appeared solid in the final two games of the season, the overall numbers provide a much murkier picture about who the starter should be.
Last season Richardson threw for nearly 1400 yards with 11 TDs and 7 picks, while Rohach threw 1208 yards, 8 TDs and 7 picks.
Neither stat line jumps of the page and screams starter.
Perhaps neither Richardson nor Rohach is the long-term answer, with Redshirt Freshman Joel Lanning lurking in the background, and Dom Delira, a 2015 commit from Lake Travis, TX coming in next year.
But it’s become clear that its either Richardson or Rohach that will take control of the team this year, and whichever wins the QB competition will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.
TE E.J. Bibbs is a preseason All-Big 12 selection and reeled in 39 catches last year for 462 yards. The big 6’3” 264 pounder is a consistent threat running across the middle, and is an established blocker using that big frame.
At WR, Quenton Bundrage emerged as the Cyclones deep ball threat, as he lead the team in catches (48), receiving yards (676), and receiving TDs (9). Bundrage is locked in at the No. 1 wide receiver slot, with a host of experienced receivers fighting for the No. 2 slot in Tad Ecby, Jarvis West, D’Vario Montgomery, P.J. Harris, and Dondre Daly.
Also joining the receiving core will be highly-touted true freshman Allen Lazard. The 6’5” 220 pounder turned down Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Standford, among others, to sign with the home state Cyclones. His exact role is unknown at this point, but many suspect he will be fighting for that No. 2 WR position by midseason, and will have an almost immediate red zone impact.
Throw in a host of RBs, led by Aaron Wimberly, who lead the team in rushing despite an injury-riddled season, a revamped offensive line, and a new offensive coordinator in Mark Mangino, whoever is crowned starting QB has every opportunity to lead a successful offense.
Rhodes has not yet given a timetable for when he will name a starter and for good reason. Iowa State’s offense is ready to put up some points and win some football games after a disappointing season a year ago.
This year, given all the weapons surrounding the quarterback, it will fall squarely on which QB can manage the game and get the job done.