While most people are celebrating Iowa football player Nate Stanley’s return, behind the scenes there is a big battle brewing for the 2020 starter’s spot.
The Iowa football team is surprisingly in a very good spot at the quarterback position. Starting for the team in 2019 will be senior quarterback Nate Stanley who is pushing himself in the conversation of greatest of all-time.
Behind him sits a plethora of talent and unlike the 2017 quarterback battle between Stanley, Tyler Wiegers, Ryan Boyles, and Drew Cook, this one isn’t so set in stone. Let’s face it, everyone knew that it was Stanley’s job to lose, but in 2020 it appears to be relatively wide open.
The first guy to be in the conversation for 2020 starter is current backup Peyton Mansell, who will be a redshirt junior in 2020 after redshirting his first year in Iowa City and backing up Stanley for the final two. Mansell, a former three-star recruit from Texas, appeared in five games this season completing five passes for 83 yards and one interception. He also added 31 yards on the ground.
The stat line isn’t overly impressive, but he did show some moxie and willingness to stay in the pocket while still having the ability to pick up the first down with his legs. By the time Stanley leaves, Mansell will have played under Brian Ferentz for four seasons and should be considered the front-runner for the job (at this point).
Breathing down Mansell’s neck, however, is Spencer Petras, a former four-star recruit from California who very much fits the mold of Stanley. Standing at 6’5” 227 pounds, Petras is a big kid with a big arm and a hint of athleticism. Petras didn’t see any snaps this year, meaning he should be receiving a redshirt so when Stanley leaves he will be a redshirt sophomore.
Petras also happened to attend the same high school as Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff, and in his three years starting broke many of Goff’s school records.
The final guy on this list is a 2019 recruit that has a lot of people very excited and that is Cherry Creek High School’s (Colorado) Alex Padilla. Padilla is a 6’1” 190 pounds pro-style quarterback who committed to Iowa during the summer of 2018 and never wavered despite temptations from the University of Georgia during his recruiting process. Padilla is early enrolling, which will help him gain some ground on Mansell and Petras while also likely spending a year redshirting before competing in the 2020 quarterback battle.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to see Petras or Padilla play much, this 2020 quarterback battle is starting to remind me an awful lot of the 2017 quarterback battle where there is a highly touted recruit battling the long-time backup and a few newcomers. If Petras is as good as advertised (which is similar to the sentiment people had on Nate Stanley entering his sophomore year), I could see him winning the job and not looking back.
That being said, it’s incredibly early to predict those things but you better believe it’s a conversation that is happening within the Iowa football program as they prepare for life without Nate Stanley.