Nate Stanley will not declare for the NFL Draft, which means he now has the chance to secure his play in Iowa football history. Here’s how.
Finding out Nate Stanley would be returning for his senior season was a big win for the Iowa football program. Despite fan’s reservations about his ability to lead the team in big games, he has all of the potential in the world and returning for his senior season just provides another opportunity for Stanley to secure his place in Iowa football history.
As it stands today, the GOAT (greatest of all time) easily belongs to Heisman runner-up and former first-round draft pick Chuck Long who holds nearly every single passing record for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Behind him sits Drew Tate and Ricky Stanzi.
It by no means is an easy route or the most likely route, but with a superb season, Stanley could cement himself next to or above Long. Again, it would take an incredible season, but it is not out of reach.
First and foremost, Stanley needs to lead the Iowa football team to a Big Ten Championship victory and either a victory in the College Football Playoffs or when of the six major bowls. Despite the gaudy stats, Chuck Long was never able to win the Rose Bowl. His best bowl win came his freshman season when the Hawks beat Tennessee in the Peach Bowl, which was not the same Peach Bowl it is today.
Second, Stanley would need to be a Heisman finalist. This one may seem insane right now, but there was a point last season where Stanley could strongly be considered a dark horse candidate (if the Hawks ran the table).
Third, and this one is the one that ties it all together, Stanley would need to have one of the best statistical seasons in Hawkeyes history. This would not only help his Heisman candidacy, but it would also help him inch closer to the records that Long set in hour four-years as the full-time starter for Iowa.
For Long’s career he had 9,671 yards, 70 touchdowns, 46 interceptions, and a 64.9% completion percentage.
There’s almost zero chance Stanley reaches the completion percentage mark as his is currently 57.2% (although he did improve significantly from his sophomore season). The other marks, however, are attainable, especially the touchdowns where Stanley needs just 22 touchdowns to set the school record.
More impressive is the fact that he would do so while likely throwing significantly less interceptions than Long. Stanley is 31 interceptions away from Long’s school record 46.
The biggest reach though is the passing yard mark where Stanley would need 4,540 yards to break the school record. To do this, he would need to average 325 yards per game over his next 14 games (including this year’s Outback Bowl, next year’s regular season, and next year’s postseason games). This past season, he had just three 300-yard passing games, but that’s a lot for an Iowa football quarterback.
If Brian Ferentz continues to open up the offense and with speedster Ihmir Smith-Marsette and big-catch Brandon Smith playing wide receiver, anything is possible.
Moreover, if each of these things come true, Nate Stanley would finish with a career winning percentage in the mid-70% which would be right in line with Chuck Long’s career winning percentage of 76%.
I’m not saying it will happen, but it certainly is a possibility, and it’s definitely a storyline I am excited to watch play out in 2019.