"I just heard…that sucks," Quarterback C.J. Beathard said in a text message.
Beathard signed his national letter of intent with the Hawkeyes on Wednesday. He had been verbally committed to Mississippi since April and then the Rebels changed coaches. Iowa swooped in recently with O'Keefe leading the way.
"We had a sit-down and I asked (O'Keefe) if he thought he would be at Iowa for a while. A lot of assistant coaches move on," said Casey Beathard, C.J.'s father. "He said that Coach (Kirk) Ferentz just signed a new deal and he was with him. That's how he handled that question."
Casey said that C.J. really connected with O'Keefe.
"He was a huge part of why we made the decision to go to Iowa," Casey said. "C.J. told me that he felt like he knew Coach O'Keefe forever when they talked. He was a gigantic part. But, what can you do?"
The Beathards are putting their faith in Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
"Coach Ferentz is a great coach," Casey said. "He's respected and you have to think he'll get some good people on-board."
C.J. Beathard originally committed to Ole Miss in large part because of his connection to offensive coordinator David Lee, who came to the Rebels from the Miami Dolphins, where O'Keefe is headed. Lee signed on with the Buffalo Bills after being relieved of his duties in Oxford.
"It's disappointing for C.J.," Casey said. "He bonded with Coach Lee and Coach O'Keefe. He'll deal with anything. We just hope he connects with the new guy at Iowa."