By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The news that Peyton Mansell has entered the transfer portal hardly should come as a surprise.
It would’ve been more surprising if Mansell had chosen to stay at Iowa for his junior year to play quarterback.
He still could withdraw his name from the transfer portal and stay at Iowa, but that seems unlikely under the circumstances.
Mansell fell behind sophomore-to-be Spencer Petras on the depth chart heading into last season, and then stayed behind him throughout the season.
Petras served as the backup to senior Nate Stanley this past season, just like Stanley served as the backup to senior C.J. Beathard in 2016.
The starting position wasn’t guaranteed to Stanley in 2017, but he certainly had the inside track after having served as the backup in 2016. Stanley then would go on to start 39 consecutive games over the past three seasons.
The circumstance now appears similar with Petras, who was listed as Stanley’s backup throughout the 2019 season.
Petras only appeared sparingly in three games during the regular season, but the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder was clearly recognized as the backup to Stanley.
If Mansell had won the backup job this past season, it would have been no surprise if Petras had entered the transfer portal.
Mansell is from Texas, while Petras is from northern California.
Neither would seem to have emotional ties to Iowa other than through football.
Mansell is simply doing what more and more quarterbacks are doing these days, which is transferring out of a program in search of a place where he could ultimately start.
That’s the thing with playing quarterback in that with most situations, you’re either in or you’re out.
Unlike with running backs and receivers, playing quarterback is usually a solo act.
Iowa is now expected to have three quarterbacks on scholarship for next season with redshirt freshman and Colorado native Alex Padilla and incoming freshman and Texas native Deuce Hogan the other two.
Mansell is now close to joining a growing list of quarterbacks who have transferred from Iowa in recent years. Some others include Ryan Boyle, Tyler Wiegers, Nic Shimonek, Jake Rudock and Cody Sokol, all of whom have transferred since 2014.
This hardly makes Iowa’s quarterbacks, or the Iowa program unique, as quarterbacks are transferring at a high rate these days.
Some might question their loyalty and accuse them of being self-entitled, but former Iowa quarterback Chuck Long said back in August that he understands why so many quarterbacks choose to transfer.
“Only one gets to play, and that’s tough,” Long said. “At some point, you have to do what you feel is in your best interest.”
That is exactly what Mansell is doing, and more power to him.
He wants to play, but must not feel confident about his chances at Iowa.
It doesn’t mean that he’s a quitter or that he’s bolting at the first sign of disappointment.
It just means that Mansell believes his chance of being a starting quarterback would improve if he transfers from Iowa.
At some point, even with playing a team sport, a person has to do what he or she feels is in their best interest.
I thought that Mansell might wait until after spring practice before making a decision because that would’ve given him more time to compete for the starting position and would have moved him closer to graduating.
But Mansell must feel that now is the best time to move on, so good to luck to him.
Mansell was always polite and friendly during the few times he was interviewed as a Hawkeye.
He also at 6-2 and 208 pounds brought a different look in that he was shorter than most of the other Iowa quarterbacks, but was also more mobile.