New quarterback Jantz, football recruits draw attention


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Dai

West Des Moines native, Steele Jantz interviews with reporters Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Dan Tracy

The name of junior college transfer and now ISU quarterback Steele Jantz has caught the eyes of many, if not for his success at City College of San Francisco (CCSF), then simply for the uniqueness of his name.

On Monday’s National Signing Day, the media got their first chance to speak with Jantz as well as the other three ISU recruits — wide receiver Aaron Horne, offensive lineman Samuel Tautolo and linebacker Jevohn Miller — currently enrolled in spring classes.

Coming off a season in which he threw for 3,075 yards and 23 touchdowns, along with rushing for 601 yards and 14 touchdowns, Jantz knows that the expectations will be high, especially if he’s named the Cyclones’ starter.

“I think people do have expectations, and not that I don’t pay attention to them, but I just try to stay focused on what I need to do,” Jantz said. “There’s always going to be expectations from people, the important thing is my expectations for myself.”

As for what he expects of himself, Jantz wants to set an example of the type of person that he is, which he claims is someone who works hard, leads by example and focuses on controlling what he can control.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 212-pound Aguora Hills, Calif., native ran a similar offensive system at CCSF that was fast-paced and focused on spreading the field. To get more acclimated with the ISU offense, Jantz has been meeting with offensive coordinator Tom Herman and offensive graduate assistant Drew Mehringer on a daily basis to go through the playbook and watch film.

“I’m a big believer in it,” Jantz said of the offense. “I understand the mentality of the offense which helps me fit well with it.”

Coach Paul Rhoads looks at three qualities when recruiting the quarterback position, a combination of intelligence and leadership, accuracy in throwing the football and athleticism when it comes to escaping pressure. Rhoads found Jantz to boast all three along with some of the intangibles it takes to be the signal caller.

“He’s got great leadership skills,” Rhoads said. “The football team responds to him.”

Along with redshirt junior to-be Jerome Tiller, Jantz agreed that he figures to be a front-runner as the team prepares for spring practices.

“I think quarterback is a position where every single person competing for that position should feel like they’re the guy,” Jantz said. “I think if you don’t feel that way then you’re in the wrong position so obviously I feel like I’m the guy.”

The question of who will be the next quarterback will be asked even to players that won’t be vying for the position.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Horne, a teammate of Jantz at CCSF, said. “Steele was my quarterback in JUCO so he’s got the advantage from my standpoint but the other quarterbacks … we’ll have to see.”

Along with Herman and offensive line coach Bill Bleil, Rhoads was able to see Jantz in person during his 11-1 season with CCSF.

“He knows when to take something off the ball, he knows when to rifle the ball, he knows when to lead a receiver, he knows when to tuck it and run,” Rhoads said. “All of those are reasons why we thought it was important to sign him as a junior college player, get him in here at mid-year and compete for our starting quarterback position.”

Rhoads reiterated in his press conference Monday the same view toward the vacant starting quarterback position that he had following the season-ending loss to Missouri.

“Every quarterback that we have on our roster will be competing for that starting job Sept. 3 against the University of Northern Iowa,” Rhoads said.

Jantz and the other nine quarterbacks on the ISU roster will get their first opportunity to showcase their talents at Jack Trice Stadium in the 2011 Spring Game.