Standing inside Jack Trice Stadium on Friday night, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads talked on the phone with West Des Moines Valley quarterback Rocky Lombardi last week and marveled about the abilities he had shown just days prior.
Lombardi, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, 2017 quarterback prospect had led his team to a title at Iowa State’s 7-on-7 tournament Sunday, impressing Iowa State coaches along the way with his leadership and abilities. Now, he has his first offer.
“It was awesome,” Lombardi said of his conversation with Rhoads. “Pretty much what he said was he thought I had an awesome 7-on-7 and that I led my team and that a quarterback isn’t only about being able to throw the ball but being able to lead your team and win some games and he felt like I did a good job. So he decided to offer me and I felt like it was really exciting.”
Lombardi is a talented pro style quarterback who burst onto the scene in central Iowa during his sophomore season at West Des Moines Valley. In 2014, Lombardi went 122-of-211 for 2,097 yards and 21 touchdowns. He rushed 58 times for 222 yards and five additional touchdowns on the ground.
In the early stages of his recruitment, Lombardi has also drawn interest from Iowa, Michigan State, Louisville, Nebraska, Wisconsin and a few others. He has camped at Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville and will round out his camp schedule with stops at Virginia and Kansas State.
He feels the Iowa State offer could jumpstart his recruitment.
“I feel like it kind of opens the door for other universities I guess,” Lombardi said. “So I’m from Des Moines, so if Iowa doesn’t offer me, then some other school, say Minnesota, if they’re like, ‘Iowa hasn’t offered him, what’s wrong with him.’ Now that Iowa State has offered, I feel like [schools] think that I’m good enough to play at their level as well.”
Lombardi’s strength is his arm, and he showed that at Michigan’s Aerial Assault camp where he reported a throw of 63 yards. “I can throw it through a wall or I can loft it over,” Lombardi said. “I have a lot of different movements to my ball.”
Lombardi hopes to make frequent stops at Iowa State next season while picking up his communication with Shane Burnham and other coaches. For now, he’s happy to have Iowa State on his list of options.
“To be honest the offer was kind of a surprise. I didn’t feel like I was going to get it this early, but I’m excited that they pulled the trigger,” Lombardi said. “It was pretty cool my first offer being Iowa State because I can always visit them and it’s not a long drive. Iowa State would probably be the college I feel the most at home at as of right now because it’s so close.”