IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa will put the football in the hands of Jake Rudock to open the 2013 season.
The sophomore was named Friday as the starting quarterback for the Hawkeyes’ Aug. 31 opener at Kinnick Stadium against Northern Illinois, rising to the top of the depth chart in a three-way competition with redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard and junior-college transfer Cody Sokol.
Coach Kirk Ferentz announced his decision on Twitter, a first for the 15th-year Hawkeye coach.
“All three returning quarterbacks have competed well and improved in each phase of our preseason camp,’’ Ferentz said. “We plan to start Jake in our season opener, and we are all confident that he will do a quality job.’’
Beathard and Sokol share the second-team spot on the depth chart for the opener.
Although none of Iowa’s three returning quarterbacks has taken a snap for the Hawkeyes, Rudock has been in the program the longest and spent last season receiving additional reps in practice as the backup to James Vandenberg.
A product of one of the nation’s elite prep programs at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the 6-foot-3 pre-med major arrived at Iowa in the fall of 2011 with an impressive resume and a reputation for winning.
Named as state and south Florida player of the year by multiple organizations, Rudock quarterbacked St. Thomas Aquinas to a 15-0 mark as a senior, completing 157-of-242 passes for 2,827 yards. He threw 36 touchdown passes and was intercepted three times while leading his team to a state championship.
He quarterbacked St. Thomas Aquinas to 31 victories during his career as a starter and was part of teams which finished a combined 58-2 over his four years in high school.
Beyond determining a starting quarterback, Iowa’s depth chart for the 2:30 p.m. opener against the Huskies includes a handful of other changes from the team’s preseason depth chart.
Don Shumpert, a senior from St. Louis, has moved ahead of sophomore Tevaun Smith for the starting assignment at split end and John Lowdermilk, a junior who saw action in 11 games last season as a reserve, is listed ahead of Nico Law at strong safety. Law started four games at the position last season.
Iowa continues to list Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock both on the top line of the depth chart at running back and all other starting positions remain unchanged from the preseason chart.
Brandon Scherff, Conor Boffeli, Austin Blythe, Jordan Walsh and Brett Van Sloten hold spots on the offensive line from left to right, while Drew Ott, Carl Davis, Louis Trinca-Pasat and Dominic Alvis are listed as starters on the defensive line.
No true freshmen have worked their way onto the two-deep roster and among nine redshirt freshmen who were listed on the preseason depth chart, only backup offensive tackle Ryan Ward, Beathard at quarterback, Jaleel Johnson at defensive tackle, Maurice Fleming at left cornerback and Anthony Gair at free safety are currently listed on the second team.