Joel Lanning began the 2016 season as Iowa State’s starting quarterback, but by the end of the year he’d ceded the job to Jacob Park.
But just because Lanning is no longer the Cyclones’ top quarterback doesn’t mean the coaching staff is letting his other talents go to waste on the sideline. He became a running specialist toward the end of last season and may reprise that role in 2017. But that’s not all.
Lanning, who Iowa State lists at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, is also practicing at linebacker. And doing quite well at it.
“He’s the No. 1 mike linebacker for us right now,” linebackers coach Tyson Veidt told the Des Moines Register. “(He’s) doing a great job there running with the ones. It’s certainly his job to lose.”
Lanning’s quarterback style made him familiar with frequent contact. He rushed 121 times for 518 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in 2016, including a 17-carry, 171-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 66-10 thrashing of Texas Tech.
While both Lanning and the Iowa State coaches are still trying to figure out what, exactly, Lanning’s role will be this season, it’s clear it will be a prominent one. It’s looking now as if Lanning will play primarily on defense while playing spot duty on offense. (Note to Lanning: make sure you switch shoulder pads when transitioning from quarterback to linebacker and vice versa.)
“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 paper.