Analysis: Campbell’s quarterback formula

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy runs the ball during the first half of Iowa State’s game vs West Virginia on Oct. 13, 2018.

Trevor Holbrook

Iowa State’s schedule granted the team a bye week on Saturday after a 30-14 win over then-No. 6 West Virginia and before its Homecoming matchup with Texas Tech.

Cyclone fans missed a weekend of Brock Purdy highlights, but the freshman’s previous two weeks should have satisfied fans’ appetite for solid quarterback play.

Outside of Purdy’s play, the fact he’s seen the field this season exploits a trend with Iowa State football under coach Matt Campbell and previous coaches.

In 2016, Joel Lanning started the season under center. After leading Iowa State to limited success, Campbell mixed in Jacob Park, and Park snagged the job by the end of the season.

Last year, Park kicked off the season starting, but Kyle Kempt took over after four games. Zeb Noland also filled in for a start against Baylor.

This year, Kempt opened, Noland followed and Purdy took over — at least for now.

Before Campbell, similar situations occurred. Seasons passed with names like Steele Jantz, Jared Barnett, Grant Rohach and others penciled in at the starting quarterback spot. From 2009 to Campbell’s arrival, multiple quarterbacks received starting snaps every season. Iowa State went 32-55 during that stretch. Under Campbell’s three multi-quarterback seasons, Iowa State managed a 14-17 record.

The Campbell sample size is small but appears to be on the upswing. After the initial 3-9 season, the Cyclones followed with an 8-5 year and are well-positioned to finish .500 or better this season.

A difference in Iowa State’s football program under Campbell has not only been better quarterback play, but also a deeper quarterback unit.

In Campbell’s limited recruiting time at Iowa State, he’s focused on adding solid quarterbacks and often multiple of them. Looking forward, it appears the staff is following that blueprint. Iowa State’s lone offensive commitment for the class of 2020 is quarterback Aidan Bouman (three-star rating from

The class of 2019 featured Easton Dean, a three-star according to, from Kansas. Campbell inked Purdy and Re-al Mitchell in the 2018 class and Devon Moore in the 2017 class.

Campbell’s first class bolstered the quarterback position with Noland and Park. To recap, Campbell has tacked on two quarterbacks followed by one and then two more.

Before Campbell, Iowa State snagged fewer quarterbacks and more fizzled out. The 2015 class featured Dom DeLira who never played a snap at Iowa State.

The 2014 class had Darius Lee-Campbell, a Texas quarterback who ended up at wide receiver in college. In 2013’s class, Iowa State plucked Lanning, who eventually found a home at linebacker and Trevor Hodge, who transferred out of the program.

In the 2012 class, Iowa State added Rohach, who passed for 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions with limited success in Ames.

Iowa State found Sam Richardson and Jantz in 2011. Both showed glimpses of success, but ultimately were often considered inconsistent options. Iowa State added Barnett in 2010, who led a historic upset over Oklahoma State in 2011 but was otherwise mostly unsuccessful in cardinal and gold.

Iowa State added James Capello in 2009, who ended up at Tiffin University.

The list continues with few memorable names in Iowa State history. Campbell and his staff seem to have corrected the quarterback mistakes from previous years by filling the quarterback room and managing to keep solid quarterbacks for multiple years.