It’s going to be one of your favorite story lines of the 2017 season, even if you’d forgotten it was happening before reading this post. Joel Lanning, Iowa State quarterback, is now Joel Lanning, Iowa State linebacker.
Lanning made the transition in March with the understanding he would start at middle linebacker while retaining his role on offense in a limited capacity. “Coach (Matt) Campbell told me, ‘If everything works, you’re probably going to be throwing up after all the games because you’re going to be playing so much,” Lanning told the Des Moines Register during the spring.
At Big 12 Media Days on Monday, Campbell said he was impressed to the point of excited about Lanning’s feel for his new position.
“I was probably taken back a little bit about just as much growth as he was able to make from practice one through 15,” Campbell said. “I do think, playing where he played, he really has an understanding about playing at that depth of where he played on the offensive side, but now it’s just a different mindset and a different mentality.
“But Joel always played with a linebacker’s mentality at quarterback, but transitioning to now tackling and playing in space and doing those things, I think that’s been probably his biggest transition, but it’s really been fun to watch. I thought by practice 13, 14, 15, boy, he really looked like he belonged for sure.”
Lanning completed 99-of-169 passes for 1,290 yards with nine touchdowns against three interceptions while rushing 121 times for 559 yards and three scores in splitting time at quarterback with Jacob Park last season. The hunch here is he’ll rack up as many tackles in 2017 as he had completed passes in ’16.