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The quarterback was named QB1 in January and spoke to the Iowa media for the first time in 5 months.

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IOWA CITY, Ia. – C.J. Beathard felt he was the better quarterback option over Jake Rudock as Iowa prepared for the Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Bowl.

"In my mind, I felt like I was the better athlete and could do more things," Beathard said Wednesday in his first interview with Iowa media in five months.

Rudock started that 45-28 loss to Tennessee, but Beathard got more than twice as many snaps. A day after getting home, Beathard received a good-news phone call from head coach Kirk Ferentz.

He was the new No. 1 quarterback – and two-year starter Rudock was No. 2.

"I knew my time was coming. I had faith in God," Beathard said. "That worked out for the best. Hopefully from here on out, we can win Big Ten championships."

Until a spring depth chart was publicly released Jan. 8 – a program-changing move that led to Rudock exploring a transfer to Michigan that is all but done – Beathard's status was a swirling source of speculation. Rumors that he would transfer gained steam when his father, Casey, floated to his hometown newspaper in Tennessee that his son would consider transferring, depending how things played out in the bowl game.

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The confident junior QB is excited to lead.

Beathard contended Wednesday his father's comments were overblown. He said he had met with Ferentz wanting to know about his future in the Hawkeye program.

"I met with him before and after the bowl game and just talked to him about where things were going, because obviously you want to play," Beathard said.

But he said "it never got to that point" of transferring, because he received that affirming Ferentz phone call.

"This is my team," Beathard said. "I've always been a Hawk. I didn't want to leave, and I didn't have any plans to."

Beathard's presence was the first with Iowa media since late October, when he was quoted as saying that playing time was a possible reason for wide receiver Derrick Willies' decision to transfer.

He had not been made available by the university since, including after the Tennessee loss when he was led out of the locker room by police escort. Interview requests with Rudock were denied that night, too.

"I think that was coach Ferentz trying to protect both of us," Beathard said. "He knew as college students we had a lot on our shoulders, especially after losing a game like that. Nobody wants to … sit there and be talking about our futures. All we're thinking about is getting home. He had our best needs in mind."

Wednesday, though, was a new chapter. Beathard is the clear guy now, with two years of eligibility remaining to craft his own legacy.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound junior-to-be said he's bulked up in the offseason.

And Beathard seemed to be enjoying his new role, saying he is putting it upon himself as the unquestioned leader to "take charge. It's easier to do that now that Jake isn't here."

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