Quarterback becomes a dire need for the Hawkeyes

Quarterback becomes a dire need for the Hawkeyes

Iowa and quarterback is starting to sound like oil and water. At this point, it’s fair to consider whether Phil Parker has any juice left in his arm. But in all seriousness, it’s a major concern and one that cannot go unaddressed before fall camp comes around.

However you felt about Deacon Hill and his performance as the starting quarterback of the team, he is one less healthy body in the room. With his — and freshman Tommy Poholsky’s — departure, the Hawkeyes are left with one healthy quarterback on campus: Redshirt freshman Marco Lainez.

Cade McNamara is the presumptive starter once he fully recovers from the ACL tear he suffered in late September. However, he has yet to be at full health for more than a short period of time.

When he arrived on campus in spring 2023, he was working back from a knee operation that ended his 2022 season. In June he was finally 100%, but a strained quad on Kids Day at Kinnick in August kept him hobbled for the 4 1/4 games he was at full health.

Even if McNamara can stay on the field, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll be productive. In five games he completed just 51% of his throws. For comparison, heavily criticized quarterback Spencer Petras had a 56% clip his senior year.

Maybe a change of offensive scheme will be what McNamara needs. It was three years ago, but in 2021 he completed 64% of his passes at Michigan and boasted a 15/6 touchdown-interception ratio.

The other option at this point is redshirt freshman Marco Lainez. Long story short, he’s very mobile but struggles mightily with his throwing mechanics. In garbage time in the Citrus Bowl, Lainez showed off his scrambling ability, rushing six times for 51 yards. But as a quarterback he is likely a year away from being a serious option as a starter or second string quarterback.

True freshman James Resar is not yet on campus, so it’s unrealistic to consider him an option in the short term. 247Sports rates him as a four-star recruit, so he will surely be in the quarterback conversation in the long term.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz told us he would consider jumping in the portal to add a player last month.

“We’ll do anything we can to help our team,” Ferentz said. “We’ll be looking at it and if there’s an opportunity that presents itself, we’ll consider just about anything. We planned to do it last year. We had more openings last year, so we had more need to be involved. It’s not quite the same this year, but if there’s something that makes us a better football team, that’s what we’re all trying to do.”

247Sports’ Sean Bock reported this afternoon that former Northwestern quarterback Brendan Sullivan is visiting Iowa City.

Sullivan is a junior who started four games for the Wildcats. His numbers weren’t gaudy: Six touchdowns to two interceptions with a 63% completion percentage. He would likely be brought in to challenge Cade McNamara for the starting gig, and at the very worst provide a presence as a backup.

Other options via portal will likely be more apparent with time. An addition will more than likely be made. But until then, yikes.

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