As of Saturday, we have a fair idea of who the starters will be. We have a reasonable idea as to the shape of the depth chart, and the annual flood of puff pieces on players has begun. We're in that strange time where nothing happens but we're all getting hyped up for football... which means that it's annual position-based rundown article time in Blogfrica. Since the QB position has been settled, lets start behind center.
THE SAN FRANSISCO KID - #2 - STEELE JANTZ
|Hometown:||Agoura Hills, Calif.|
Steele Jantz is a JUCO transfer from San Fransisco City College where he led the Rams to an 11-1 season. Jantz was scouted by Coach Rhoads and OC Tom Herman and was brought in to compete for the position with Jerome Tiller. He won the position over the last few weeks, and it was cemented when Tiller was revealed to be academically ineligible for the season.
Apart from being a member of the ESPN Big 12 All-Name Team, Jantz appears to have a strong arm with some impressive touch. Some of his throws can be off the mark, but Steele has good touch when he plants his feet and delivers a pass. He also seems to be the sort of mobile quarterback that can create big plays on the ground when there's nothing to be found down field. In fact, most of the news coming out of Jack Trice is that Jantz will be a decent passer with acceleration and speed... ability to make big plays with his feet... sound like anyone you know?
Puff Piece? Right Here, complete with a straight-outta-California fauxhawk that he has thankfully decided to lose. Anticipation and Readiness skills have been worked on, and the coaches have said that his decision making skills have improved since spring with regards to when to tuck and run with the ball.
Jantz will be leading a new "JET TEMPO!!!" super-fast hurry-up offense. When asked exactly what that meant, Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman compared the tempo to "Hyper Speed" and expressed a desire to catch defenses off-guard and out of position. While every drive may not incorporate the new Hurry-Up version of the spread, the coaching staff stressed that they could "Go to 11" for single plays or mid-drive to take advantage of personnel mismatches.
One nice feature about Jantz is that he brings his own favorite target in Wide Reciever Aaron Horne, who played alongside Jantz at SFCC and transferred when he did. Check out this nice pass from the Spring Game for a good example of what this guy can do.
Sadly, that's about all we know at this point. He smoked the JUCO competition, but can he hang in FBS level football? I guess we'll know more when we can see him against FCS competition on September 3rd. Who knows? Best Case scenario, he goes all Seneca Wallace on the Hawks in week 2 and is integral in whatever crazy road game that we win against all sane reasoning. (I'm thinking Mizzou this year.) Until then, you'll have to make do with these JUCO highlights and various interview videos:
Spring Game Highlights - (Jantz is #2, see TD highlight at 1:50 if nothing else.)
THE UNEXPECTED BACKUP - #16 - JARED BARNETT
A 3-Star recruit out of Garland, TX, Barnett spent last year as a redshirt. He was considered an outside contender for the starting position when the QB Derby began, but due to Capello's transfer and Tiller's ineligibility, he finds himself in the number two slot. Barnett is a dual-threat QB, which means he should fit into the existing offensive scheme well, but may need to mature quickly should Jantz find himself injured.
Barnett showed some ground speed during the spring game, going for 58 yards on the ground. He also went 9-of-18 for 62 yards, mostly through short passes and screens. High School highlight films make it look like he has decent arm strength, but remains to be tested at the top level of competition.
Footage of Barnett can be found on that Spring Game Highlights link above.
THE DOPPLEGANGER - #12 - SAM RICHARDSON
|City/State:||Winter Park, Florida|
Robinson, a 3-star recruit out of Florida, was expected to be a redshirt this year, but with Capello and Tiller out, Robinson takes the third slot. He is described as another dual threat quarterback (of course) and has a nice profile piece here at cyclones.com. While he may still redshirt this season, the redshirt could be burned if either Jantz or Barnett has issues.
Richardson was one of two players both named "Sam Richardson" who committed to ISU only days apart. Unfortunately, if Richardson actually plays, Iowa State is probably in a lot of trouble. Still, expect to be hearing his name a lot in seasons 3-4 of your NCAA Football 12 dynasty.