WILLIAMS: What’s next at quarterback for Iowa State minus Hunter Dekkers?

Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Rocco Becht (3) looks for ta throw the ball against the Ohio Bobcats during the fourth quarter at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State had a good feeling that it would be without Hunter Dekkers for the majority – if not all of the 2023 football season. However, any questions were likely eliminated following Tuesday evening’s Des Moines Register’s report that Dekkers allegedly bet on Iowa State sporting events, including a football game in 2021. 

There is a lot that we still don’t know about the gambling situation but one thing we are sure about. Iowa State is going to start the season with an inexperienced quarterback. 

Let’s analyze what’s next given that fall camp begins this week, with Iowa State’s annual media day event happening on Friday morning in Ames. 

Based on experience alone, sophomore Rocco Becht is the clubhouse leader to start the season. While he doesn’t have much in his own right, Becht has at least been around the program for over a calendar year. The Wesley Chapel, Fla. native saw action in two games last year, completing 7-of-15 passes for 65 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. 

Becht, the son of XFL coach and former NFL tight end Anthony Becht, I’m told had a great spring and really raised his stock within the program. This was even with Dekkers competing (before the gambling news surfaced).

However, one would be naive to believe that legacy prospect J.J. Kohl would not be in contention to get snaps as well. Kohl, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound freshman out of Ankeny, is one of the highest-ranked recruits to ever sign at Iowa State. His body is Big 12 ready and Kohl enrolled at Iowa State last January, meaning he got reps during spring ball and had all offseason to workout with the team. 

Likely related to the Dekkers gambling information, Iowa State added a JUCO quarterback to its roster on May 23 (21 days following the press release about the gambling investigation). Tanner Hughes, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior, played the previous two seasons at Butte College. Hughes threw for 23 touchdowns and three interceptions as a sophomore.

We will hear more from Matt Campbell on Friday when Iowa State holds its media day. 

But based on Campbell’s history, it makes sense to give Becht the initial nod. It feels a lot like 2017 when Kyle Kempt started the season and Brock Purdy eventually came in halfway through the season. Not to say that will be what happens here, but it’s entirely possible. 

Don’t look past Hughes, who is known as a running quarterback, to be available in spot situations in short yardage.