If the Iowa football team has a really good season that likely means quarterback Nate Stanley did as well. Could he potentially be a Heisman candidate?
Nate Stanley is in year three as the quarterback for the Iowa football team. The first two seasons have produced productive seasons. Good, not great though. He’s come close to breaking Chuck Long‘s single-season passing touchdown record and has actually tied it in both his sophomore and junior seasons.
He’s made some mistakes along the way, all correctable with film study and rigorous work ethic. The challenge for 2019 is that Stanley had the luxury of two of the best tight ends in the country to throw to in 2017 and 2019. Both Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson have gone onto the NFL, so he’ll need to find new targets this season.
Iowa likes to utilize tight ends in their offense so look for Shaun Beyer, Drew Cook, or Nate Wieting to be the next man up. Stanley still has both junior wide receivers Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette as weapons and true freshman Nico Ragaini figures to be a big part of the offense as well.
Iowa’s bread and butter is always going to be the running game but feature back, Mekhi Sargent, can catch out of the backfield as well. Iowa’s home schedule looks easy on paper with the only real challenging game being Penn State on October 12.
The Hawkeyes have a brutal road schedule though. With trips to Ames, Ann Arbor, Camp Randall, and Lincoln in front of them, Iowa will need to be sharp in every game. Heisman Award winners, historically, have gone to one of the best teams in the country and certainly, if Iowa can make it through their schedule with a 10-2 or 11-1 record, Stanley deserves consideration.
He’ll likely be a long shot to win the second Heisman award in Iowa football history as Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence are both back with Alabama and Clemson, respectively. Last season, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray took home the award which made it two straight for the Sooners.
Nate Stanley and the Iowa Hawkeyes will need to be one of the four teams to make the College Football Playoff if he wants any chance at winning the Heisman as Sports Illustrated alluded to in their article regarding potential Heisman Trophy winners. Do I expect that to happen? With that road schedule and the loss of key personnel on offense, I don’t see it happening.
However, strange things happen at Iowa when expectations aren’t the highest. Look at 2009 for example, the team was coming off an 8-4 regular season and then finished 11-2 with an Orange Bowl victory. We’ve been surprised before and Nate Stanley could do it again by winning the Heisman Award.