BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. — Tyler Wiegers is an oxymoron in shoulder pads.
Dan MacLean, his football coach at Country Day, calls him a hard worker with a great desire to become better.
“He has no faults,” MacLean said of his 6-foot-4, 215-pound four-star quarterback, who will sign with Iowa today. “But if he had one, he’s almost too nice a kid. He’s always going to look at himself first and see what he can do better. It’s not in his DNA to get after guys.”
But this silent type can also make pads pop.
“He’s such a big, strong guy that he can run people over,” MacLean said. “If you’re not squared up with your feet under you, he’ll take you for a ride. He put a hurt on some guys.”
Wiegers will sign his letter of intent Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, where he’s preparing for Friday’s International Bowl. He’ll play for Team USA against Football Canada. The next stop will be Iowa, where Wiegers seems a perfect fit for the Hawkeyes’ pro-style offense.
“I think I fit in very well,” said Wiegers, who threw for 2,093 yards and completed 64 percent of his passes as a senior, with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. “Especially after talking to Coach (Greg) Davis about what they want out of their quarterbacks. That’s the way I’ve been playing my entire life.”
Wiegers was home-schooled until coming to Country Day as a sophomore. He got some playing time that first year, showing potential and throwing five touchdown passes. He threw for 2,465 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior, reaching the state title game. MacLean rarely had Wiegers leave the pocket, because he had no experienced backup.
But as a senior, things opened up. MacLean had Wiegers rolling out and throwing on the run, and gave him freedom to check off plays at the line of scrimmage.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to run for 50-yard touchdowns and stuff like that,” Wiegers said. “What Iowa does with their quarterbacks, and how they have the quarterbacks control the game at the line of scrimmage, really appealed to me. And I thought I could do well in that system.”
Not that Wiegers won’t use his feet to make plays on occasion, something he did as a senior.
“I feel like I have decent pocket presence,” Wiegers said. “It’s something I work on a lot. In order to be successful, you’ve got to be able to move around, get away from pressure and extend plays a little bit. But I feel like my base is being in the pocket, and trying to make plays from there and get it to the receivers.”
Wiegers said his strongest attribute is accuracy.
“It’s never something I’ve had to really worry about too much,” Wiegers said. “You’re always looking to improve. I guess you can always improve arm strength. That’s something I feel like I need to work on in order to take my game to another level.”
So he lifts weights four times a week, throws to Country Day receivers two days a week in the gym, works with a medicine ball two days a week to get his arm stronger and does quarterback technique training on Sundays.
“You’re getting a guy who is going to work hard, do his best to be a team player and try to lead his teammates to victory,” Wiegers said.
Wiegers was weaned on Big Ten football, watching Michigan and Michigan State as a kid growing up. He wanted to play in the Big Ten, though that required some scrambling as well. He originally committed to Rutgers, who will be joining the Big Ten next season. He had second thoughts.
“There were definitely some issues going on there, and they didn’t have a great season,” Wiegers said. “So my family and I talked it over when the season ended, and we felt it would be better to go into a situation that was going to be more stable and better.”
Wiegers contacted Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, his chief recruiter, to tell him he was opening his recruitment. Wiegers made his official visit to Iowa City the weekend of the Nov. 22 home game against Michigan.
“Iowa ended up being a better overall fit for me,” said Wiegers, who committed on Dec. 20.
Wiegers knows there will be competition to get on the field at Iowa. Jake Rudock, who started every game last season, has two years of eligibility remaining. Backup C.J. Beathard has three. Nic Shimonek will be a redshirt freshman in 2014. And the Hawkeyes already have a Class of 2015 commitment from Jack Beneventi of Benet Academy in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
“That’s part of being in a Big Ten program,” Wiegers said. “You can’t really shy away from that. Competition does breed excellence, as they say. So it’s going to help me be a better player.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football