2011 Spring Football Outlook: Quarterbacks
Editor's note: This is the first of an eight-part series taking a quick look at the Iowa State football team position by position heading into spring practice. A review of the quarterback position is below. Click the "play" link in the photo above to see an interview with head coach Paul Rhoads.
Pre-Spring Quarterback Depth Chart
11 **Jerome Tiller, 6-3, 200, Jr.#
2 Steele Jantz, 6-3, 216, Jr.
14 James Capello, 6-0, 202, So.#
16 Jared Barnett, 6-0, 200, Fr.#
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads expects a wide-open battle this spring at quarterback. Austen Arnaud has departed after finishing his career with 6,777 passing yards, 8,044 yards of total offense and 42 TD passes, each of those milestones ranking him second on the all-time Iowa State career list. He started 34 games over the last three seasons.
Jerome Tiller has three career starts, including a 9-7 win at Nebraska in 2009. He threw the winning pass, a 42-yard TD spiral in Iowa State’s first win in Lincoln, Neb. in 32 years. Tiller rushed for 65 yards in that game. The junior passed for 155 yards against Missouri in 2010 season finale. He hit on 18-of-27 passes for 155 yards and a TD with two interceptions at Texas A&M in his other career start, during the 2009 season. Tiller in total has passed for 739 yards in 14 games heading into this season. The native of San Antonio, Texas is a dual-threat with good speed for his size.
Steele Jantz, in what was truly his first full football season at quarterback at any level, turned heads at City College of (Calif.) San Francisco last season. The 6-3, 216-pounder threw for 3,075 yards and 23 touchdowns while leading CCSF to an 11-1 record in California junior college play. He also rushed for 601 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading his team to the California junior college title game. His size allows him to take hits and keep playing.
James Capello does not have the stature of some quarterbacks, but he possesses a pronounced feel for the game and made the most of brief appearances in two games last season. He was the 2008 Class AAA Player-of-the-Year in the Pennsylvania prep ranks. Capello threw for 2,963 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior at Lebanon High School, in the southeast part of the state. Capello redshirted his first collegiate season in 2009. He led the Cyclones on a six-play, 79-yard scoring drive against Utah last season that was capped by his 19-yard TD dash.
Jared Barnett battled injuries during his first collegiate season while redshirting. His high school stats underscore his skills as a dual-threat signal-caller. Barnett led Garland (Texas) High School to a 9-1 record in 2009, throwing for 2,134 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. He also rushed for 373 yards and six touchdowns.
Rhoads on his quarterbacks:
“The quarterback position will be wide open from a competition stand point. I said that at the signing day press conference and it is certainly something that I meant. Quite honestly the quarterback position was open last spring as we went into it with Austen and Jerome at the forefront of that battle. I didn’t talk about it because we had a returning starting quarterback. But if you’re going to become a better football team you need to have competition at every position.
“With a junior college player coming in it makes it more publicized as we go forward. Jerome Tiller will start spring practice as our starting quarterback. It will be his job to earn or lose from that point on. Jerome has demonstrated that he is capable of being a Big 12 Conference quarterback.
“James Capello in one drive as our quarterback took us down the field and scored a touchdown against Utah. He does that in practice as well. He has an ability to lead our football team. He’s not a guy that you would watch as all the other quarterbacks drill and say ‘he’s the most polished, he’s the fastest.’ He’s not going to come across that way, but he moves a football team, that’s a pretty important trait to have as a quarterback.
"Steele Jantz comes in winning a lot of football games as a starting junior college quarterback last year at a school that is known for turning out quarterbacks and known for winning football games. He’s got the pedigree that really makes him a candidate for the position. I’m not going to count anyone out. Jared Barnett came from a high school that played a similar offense. He understands the intricacies of playing the spread and he will get his chance this spring as well.”