Iowa football quarterback commit Nate Stanley has received a lot of positive reviews since the summer. The future Hawkeye signal caller is now not only a four-star prospect according to Scout but also a member of the Scout 300. He's listed as the nation's 234th best prospect overall.
Scout is a bit more kind to Stanley's game than other recruiting networks and his high school coach certainly aligns more with what Scout believes.
"People that haven't rated him a 4-star or a 5-star prospect haven't seen him play," Menomonie High School football head coach Joseph LaBuda said. "The general public hasn't seen him participate. They don't understand how freakish of an athlete he is. He'll be the school's all-time leading scorer in basketball, a record that has been around since the 1950's. He could have played hoops at the Division-I level if he wanted. He can take off and dunk. He's a tremendous basketball player. He throws 90-92 miles per hour as a high school pitcher. He could get drafted this Spring."
LaBuda did not stop there in complimenting his star pupil. He believes the Hawkeyes are getting a one of a kind player under center and someone the Iowa faithful should be extremely excited about.
"I've been (coaching high school football) for 30 years between Florida and Wisconsin," he shared. "(Nate Stanley) is the best high school quarterback prospect that I have ever seen. Iowa is getting a gem. His knowledge of the game is excellent with his dad being a coach. He's been on the field since he was knee-high. He understands the game so well. His arm strength is incredible. The biggest thing is that as a young man he's not only a good athlete but a better person. He's humble. He's not into returning calls from the media."
"He has a 3.98 GPA. He has tremendous intelligence," LaBuda continued about Stanley. "He's as humble a person as there is. He's a great leader. Iowa absolutely got themselves a gem."
Coach LaBuda called one play, specifically, that not only blew him away but another Big Ten coach that was at the game evaluating a player on their opponent's team.
"He threw a ball for a 72 yard touchdown this year, in the air, that a Big Ten coach was there for," LaBuda explained. "That Big Ten coach turned to me later and said that he didn't have a kid in his program right now that could make that throw."
Iowa is not known for regularly securing verbal commitments from four-star quarterbacks. Stanley was obviously not a four-star at the time of his commitment to the Hawkeyes but was always a sensational prospect. LaBuda credits the Hawkeyes early efforts as a large reason why he will play his collegiate football in Iowa City.
"The timing of it is why there were able to steal him out of here," LaBuda said of the Greendale, Wisconsin quarterback. "At the time he was a sophomore, Gary Andersen was the head coach at Wisconsin, and he was recruiting guys out west. It worked out timing-wise (for Iowa). They got on him early his sophomore year. They offered him as a sophomore."
The Hawkeyes fought off more programs for Stanley than many realize and it may have been tougher had they not jumped on Stanley as early as they did. It also helped Wisconsin has had to try to come back from way behind.
"If coach (Paul Chryst) had been in our state Nate's sophomore and junior year, I think Iowa would have had more of a fight on their hands," LaBuda admitted about Stanley's recruitment. "He could have gone to Michigan State but that would have been a long way for his parents to drive. Michigan State is not on this side of the Big Ten so it was unlikely that they'd be able to see him play much if he went there. He could have gone to Minnesota. He could have gone to a lot of different places."
"Stanford called on him earlier when he was young," LaBuda added. "He didn't want to go far away from home. You have to give the Iowa coaches credit, they did a great job. They got on him early. They have stayed with him, coaches Wallace, (Kirk and Brian) Ferentz, and Davis."
The fact that Stanley had roots in Iowa was also a contributing factor to his pledge to the Hawkeyes.
"His mom is from Iowa," LaBuda mentioned. "He has roots in Iowa. He really wanted to go to Iowa. His grandparents can drive to the stadium there."
Iowa got the initial pledge and they're fighting feverishly to hang onto it and sign him on the first Wednesday in February. Though the Badgers are getting a bit of attention, it still looks promising that the Hawkeyes have their next quarterback in tow.
"Wisconsin is still working on him," LaBuda pointed out. "They've done their homework. They're still recruiting him. There hasn't been an official visit set, yet, at least. I can't answer what will happen for him. That's his question to answer. I do know that he's really sold on Iowa."
"When Michigan State and some of the other schools have called that still recruited him, his answer he wanted me to relay was that he was still very firm. His answer was always that he was very firm (to Iowa)."
Though Wisconsin and a few others have not given up, there's belief from multiple sources that Stanley will still sign his letter of intent with Iowa in February. And judging by LaBuda's comments, it'll be a signee that has a fantastic career in Iowa City.