FRISCO, Texas — Iowa State found a surprise standout last season in quarterback Jacob Park. And his coach thinks he could be better this season.
Park joined the Cyclones as a junior college transfer last year, less than a month before the opener against Northern Iowa. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said Park will be much better after a full offseason with the team.
“I think it’s been night and day because we didn’t have him last offseason,” Campbell said. “We didn’t get Jacob Park in our football program until about two weeks before the start of the season. So I think what you saw Jacob playing on last year, a lot of it was just true, raw talent.”
That’s part of the reason it took him so long to win the starting job from Joel Lanning. The two quarterbacks split playing time in seven games before Park took over.
The Cyclones saw immediate results when that happened, winning two of their final five games after starting 1-6. Park finished with 1,791 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
There’s no quarterback competition this season. Lanning has moved to linebacker, and Park will be entrusted with the offense from Day 1. The redshirt sophomore is ready to take another step forward.
“I think he’s really harnessed what an offseason should look like,” Campbell said. “He’s bigger. He’s stronger. He’s got a great understanding of the offense now. He’s taken ownership of what it means to really be a starting quarterback.”