Three quarterbacks will be taking the field on Saturday for Iowa State’s spring game. Two of them were on display last season — Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach. But who exactly is the new guy, redshirt freshman Joel Lanning?
Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Grant Rohach (3) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jack Trice Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 58-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Lanning landed with the Cyclones last year and redshirted. He’s playing close to home, coming from Ankeny, the same hometown as head coach Paul Rhoads. Ankeny is just under 30 miles away from the Iowa State campus.
The freshman won’t just comfortably have a ton of close friends and family there that he’s grown up with. Lanning brings in a lot of talent to compete with the two quarterbacks that saw actual playing time last season.
Lanning was a three-star player on multiple recruiting services like Rivals and ESPN. During his time at Ankeny, he set school records in passing yards (2,315) and rushing yards as a quarterback (1,082) during his senior season, also finishing with 39 total touchdowns (22 in the air and 17 on the ground). He was an Iowa Class 4-A Player of the Year during that 2012 campaign, leading Ankeny to a state championship and an undefeated 14-0 record.
The question heading into this season will be if the young quarterback can learn a second different system in consecutive years. Lanning is taking it in stride though. While he admitted to The Des Moines Register that he didn’t fully understanding the previous offense entirely, that doesn’t matter. He’s on board with anything and everything that offensive coordinator Mark Mangino has up his sleeve.
"“I didn’t have the other offense down, like I will this one, (so) it was pretty easy to throw the other one away,” he said. “It will be easy to learn.“Coach Mangino says we’ll do it all — spread, pistol, we’ll be under center, throwing it, and running it.“I don’t know what else to offense there is, but we’ll do it all.”"