It was a couple weeks ago during the peak of a late recruiting push when Jake Rudock’s high school coach pulled the prized quarterback aside.
George Smith wanted to know where Rudock stood on a couple of issues regarding college football and its role in his future. More specifically, he wanted to gauge whether Rudock was picking a school strictly for its football program or if there was more factoring into his decision.
Rudock committed to Iowa in June, when he selected the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Colorado and Kansas. That was before he posted Playstation-like statistics during his senior season and led Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas to the Florida state title and a No. 1 national ranking. That was before Miami changed coaches and Al Golden’s staff made a late push to keep Rudock close to home.
Rudock listened to the Hurricanes. But he kept coming back to the reasons he picked Iowa in the first place — the success of the Hawkeyes under coach Kirk Ferentz, the stability of the program, the medical school that fits his academic interests, the opportunity to experience college in a college town — and he kept coming back to the commitment he made.
“It was a big deal for me,” Rudock said. “That’s how I was brought up. I shook their hands, I said I was going to their school and they said, ‘You’re the quarterback we’re going to take then.’ That’s how I was brought up — you stand by what you say. You don’t say one thing and do another.”
That’s why Rudock — rated a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN — plans to sign a letter of intent Wednesday to play for the Hawkeyes.
“You’re getting a very smart young man,” Smith said Monday. “You’re getting a great player and great citizen.”
The Hawkeyes are getting a 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback who started 29 games for one of the nation’s top high school programs and only lost once. They’re getting a quarterback who completed 64.9 percent of his passes as a senior, shattered the school career touchdown record with 70 while only throwing eight picks.
“He walks off the field after he throws a touchdown or an interception and his face never changes,” Smith said. “He started 29 games and threw eight interceptions — and five of those were tipped balls.”
Smith said Rudock took his game to another level this season when he passed for 2,827 yards with 36 touchdowns and three interceptions. That equates to an off-the-charts 209.61 pass efficiency rating on the college scale.
“He was one of the most improved quarterbacks in the country,” recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “He was one of the best quarterbacks in the country by year’s end. He’s got arm strength, he’s got foot speed, he’s got leadership skills. There’s not much not to like. He’s one of the premier players in the country.
“He plays in the toughest area in the country. He plays against real good teams, fast teams. The fast game of college ball is not going to be that imposing to him because he plays against so many fast kids in south Florida.”
All of this begs one question: Why weren’t other top college coaches pounding on Rudock’s door.
“If you take a look at what’s going on in college football, you’ve got Cam Newton-type kids, (Tim) Tebow guys, (and) he’s not that,” Smith said. “He’s a kid who’s a drop-back passer, who can run and has a great arm. I think some of the programs down in this area were looking for the other side. Then, of course, Miami was all over him at the end and everybody came back in on him. I give him a lot of credit for what he did. He stuck with (his commitment).”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football