For its latest scholarship offer to a quarterback, Iowa reached out to a familiar program – Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas. The Hawkeyes starter from the last two seasons, Jake Rudock, played there.
Normally, walking that path wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Colleges benefit from previous relationships at high schools.
Developments this offseason, on the surface, made Friday’s Hawkeye offer to Class of 2017 signal caller Jake Allen interesting. Rudock announced this spring that he was transferring to Michigan. The move came after Iowa released a January depth chart showing C.J. Beathard, Iowa’s No. 2 last fall, as the starter.
It’s fair to say things between Iowa and Rudock did not end well. It doesn’t, however, seem to affect the Hawkeyes ability to recruit his alma mater, one of the nation’s elite programs.
"I know about Jake (Rudock) and I know Jake is not very happy with Iowa right now," Allen said Friday. "But that doesn’t matter to me because Jake and I, we’re not…I’ve never spoken to the kid before. I just happen to go to the same school.
"Whatever happened with Jake has no correlation with me. I’ve never had a conversation with him. I’ve never seen him. It means nothing to me, whatever happened."
Rudock’s father, Bob Rudock, coaches baseball at Aquinas. Allen said he’s never spoken to him.
Allen transferred to Aquinas from Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons within the last month.
"I’ve been talking with (Iowa) for probably about three weeks now. It was just back and forth, nothing really crazy. It’s a blessing to receive this offer from Iowa. It’s a huge school with tremendous history. It’s one of my biggest so far so I’m extremely happy about that," Allen said.
Allen took over as Gibbons’ starting quarterback early last season. Then, an opportunity popped up to play at Aquinas, which also is bringing in the sons of NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem.
"The biggest thing for me was being able to be coached by coach Roger Harriott. And it’s a powerhouse. I’ll have two years with all the athletes around me. It does not get better," Allen said.
Harriott this spring replaced Rocco Casullo who took over the program from George Smith, the man who coached Rudock. Smith became the school’s athletics director after retiring from the football team.
"It’s a blessing to go to St. Thomas Aquinas and play with the athletes and coaches. The coaching staff is unbelievable. It doesn’t get any better. I’m in a perfect situation right now and I’m loving it," Allen said.
Allen’s move has coincided with his increased attention on the recruiting trail. In addition to the Hawkeyes, he reported that Cincinnati, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, N.C. State, Rutgers, Samford and Wake Forest have offered him scholarships.
"I’m a pretty confident kid and I believe I’m among the Top 3 quarterbacks in this class. (Recruiting) started slow but things have begun to ramp up a bit. I’m starting to show coaches who I am and they’re liking that," the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder said.
Allen credits personal coach Eric Kresser for his progress as a quarterback. Kresser played the position at the University of Florida.
Allen is familiar with the history of Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who coached Vince Young and Colt McCoy, among others, under center at Texas.
"I know the quarterbacks that he’s trained and everywhere he’s been. It would be amazing to be able to be coached by a guy like that," Allen said.
Hawkeye Assistant Chris White is leading the school’s recruitment of Allen. They’ve talked about a summer campus visit, which might include working out at camp.
"The biggest thing to me right now is definitely finding the right offense. I’m a pro-style guy and I’m going to go to a pro-style system. I believe Iowa is the perfect fit for my game," Allen said.
Allen said he’d also like to see Rutgers, Colorado State, N.C. State and as many of the schools that have offered him a scholarship as he can this summer.
"They took a chance on me and believed in me so I want to see what they’re all about," he said. "I’m not going to rush anything. I’m going to let the process play out and build these relationships with these coaches and definitely look around and find the offense that fits me the best."