Two of Illinois' finest quarterbacks headed West over the weekend for a good, old-fashioned arms duel.
Iowa State assigned quarterbacks coach Todd Sturdy to give the Dahls a tour of the facilities following camp, while running backs coach Louis Ayeni (who recruits Illinois) showed the Crofts around.
On the field, at Iowa State's indoor practice facility, the two fought for the attention of Iowa State offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.
"It was a very good competition," Croft told AllCyclones.com. "I wouldn't say I was the best but I did my fair share of what I had to do."
Neither quarterback left with an offer. The coaches will re-evaluate camp film Monday and come to a decision — a decision to offer, a decision to not offer, a decision to wait until more camps are had.
It doesn't look like Iowa State could go wrong with either. Bahl, of Marian Central Catholic and the No. 36 signal-calller in the 2015 class, is a pro-style quarterback, 6-foot-4 with a strong arm. Croft is a half-inch under 6-foot-5 and skinnier, weighing 188 pounds, but has terrific touch on his passes and is a dangerous running threat, clocking at 4.62 in the 40-yard dash.
Mangino has worked with different types of quarterbacks in his successful career, from Michael Bishop to Josh Heupel and, most memorably, to Todd Reesing. There's not one specific blueprint he's looking for. And because he hasn't yet called a play for Iowa State, it's not totally clear what type of offense he expects to run, which makes it tough to draw the perfect quarterback for the Cyclones of the future.
Joey Burrow was Mangino's first choice for the 2015 class. A top-30 quarterback per Scout.com, Burrow committed to Iowa State in late May. Dahl and Croft take the things Burrow did well — good poise in the pocket, nice running ability — and represent those skills to the extreme. Dahl says he needs to work on moving quicker through his progressions, but he's the prototypical pocket passer. Croft is a breathtaking runner who tries to model his game off Cam Newton.
They're each accurate passers, though Croft was a bit more in sync with a ragtag group of receivers at ISU camp Saturday.
"I wish I could've been a little more accurate," Bahl told AllCyclones.com. "But I felt I did pretty well. There were a lot of kids, but it was fun. I got lots of reps."
Bahl, by most accounts, has the stronger arm. He even surprised himself with his agility in the opening sequences of the camp. His 4.99 and 5.07 times in the 40-yard dash don't suggest he'll be much of a threat on the ground, but Dahl did well in the pro-agility drills (4.49 and 4.48), on par with Croft (4.42, 4.49).
"I felt like I was moving pretty well," Bahl said with a laugh.
Croft posted distances of 9-feet, 7-inches and 9-feet, 9-inches in the broad jump, besting Bahl's 8-feet and 8-feet, 5-inches.
In the live reps portion, Bahl and Croft played mostly to a stalemate. Bahl whipped the ball, and it hummed, but Croft's passes were more catchable, arriving softly into the receivers' hands.
The Cyclones would presumably be thrilled to add either quarterback to their 2015 recruiting class. It all depends on what Mangino is looking for.
"He said they'd talk a little bit and evaluate everything and they'll get back to me," said Bahl, who has offers from Rutgers and UConn, among others.
"I'd have to let it all sink in," Bahl said when asked what if he'd do if ISU offered. "But I like it so far, I like all the coaches. It's a very nice place, I'm really excited about it."
Added Croft, who has offers from Akron, Kent State and Buffalo, "I'd be flattered, then I'd have to think about it with my family."
The competition is over. Now the waiting game begins.