Meet Football Newcomer Steele Jantz
AMES, Iowa – The long and winding road that brought Steele Jantz from California to Hawaii, back to California and then now to Iowa State, has had its highs and lows. The initial journey complete, the junior college quarterback has set his sights on getting started with school and getting to know his teammates.
“I liked the serious nature of the school here,” Jantz said. “There is a professional atmosphere I noticed on my visit. I was impressed by that because I am here to go to school, not just play football.”
The Jantz family moved before Jantz’s sophomore year of high school from Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County to Nevada, a quaint town of 3,000 with historic gold rush import 60 miles northeast of Sacramento in the foothills of the Tahoe National Forest.
At Nevada Union High School he played linebacker and wide receiver as the backup quarterback his junior season. The starting quarterback as a senior, he missed the first game and then suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the season. The quarterback position was left to his younger brother Broughan.
“I had a stress fracture and really couldn’t do much but then came the knee injury and that ended the season for good,” Jantz said. “I didn’t have any scholarships offers anywhere.”
Jantz then elected to attend the University of Hawaii, arriving in January of 2008. He graduated early from Nevada Union and cast his lot in Honolulu. He made a cold call on the Hawaii football office. The coaching staff liked his size and invited him to participate in summer workouts.
“I stuck with it and ended up quarterbacking the scout team that fall, Jantz said. “It was invaluable experience working against Division I guys.”
Needing a place to play and not to languish, he went to the City College of San Francisco. He was the backup as a freshman. Then in 2010, it finally was Jantz’s time.
Jantz threw for 3,075 yards and 23 touchdowns while leading CCSF to an 11-1 record in CCCAA play. Jantz also rushed for 601 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading his school to the California State community college title game.
Before the season had progressed to its final stages, Jantz had caught the eye of the Iowa State coaching staff.
“He is an accurate passer and he is tough,” Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman said. “He took some pretty good licks and kept playing. He could make plays with his feet. He was not a statue out there.”
Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads and Herman were in the crowd Nov. 27 as Steele ran for four touchdowns and threw a 20-yard TD pass as his Rams crushed Fresno City College, 52-15, to claim the Northern California Football Association title.
“He played with poise,” Herman said. “That caught our eye.”
The spring semester began Monday. There will be intense competition for the starting quarterback job between Jantz, junior Jerome Tiller and sophomore James Capello among others. The Cyclones open the season Sept. 3 against Northern Iowa.
Click the video "play" link in the photo above or visit the video slideout tab in the photo above to see an interview with Jantz.