Hawkeye film room: Iowa QB recruit Alex Padilla is all fundamentals, little flash
The Hawkeyes landed their 2019 quarterback Thursday evening in Alex Padilla, a three-star prospect out of the Denver area.
Padilla, who checks in at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, plays at Cherry Creek in Englewood, Colorado. He completed 182 of 269 passes for 2,678 yards and 40 touchdowns as a junior. He also added a pair of rushing scores.
The 247Sports Composite gives Padilla three stars and ranks him the No. 29 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class. Rivals also gives him three stars.
Iowa liked what it saw from Padilla at its camp in early June. It offered him on June 11, and three days later he picked Iowa over Colorado State, Nevada, Columbia, Central Michigan, UNLV and South Dakota, among others.
Padilla doesn't overwhelm you with elite athleticism or arm strength. But he boasts high-level intelligence and a strong foundation of fundamentals. He's the type of prospect Ken O'Keefe will have a field day molding into a college signal-caller. It helps that Padilla is on track to graduate early and enroll at Iowa next January.
Let's take a look at what makes Padilla stand out in this Hawkeye film room session.
A receiver's best friend: As his nearly 68 percent completion rate indicates, Padilla rarely makes mistakes. His arm is solid. But what he lacks in jaw-dropping strength (like that of his future teammate Spencer Petras), Padilla makes up for in crisp accuracy on short, intermediate and deep passes. He does not put the ball in harm's way too often. He'll routinely throw his receiver open or find him through tight windows. At 2:09, a rusher forces Padilla back a few steps before he quickly sets his feet and flings a deep ball to his receiver, hitting him in stride for a touchdown. Padilla makes this pass and its accuracy look easy, but it certainly isn't. And look at the window he throws through at 3:00, on the quick slant. That's not an anomaly for Padilla — that's common.
Quick-thinking brain, nice feet: Padilla is advanced in his ability to read and react to defenses. Throughout his film package, you can see Padilla scan through first, second, third and sometimes even fourth options before finding his open target. And he's got nice speed moving from read to read — it's not a clunky process. There's a great example at 6:13, when he eventually finds his third option in the red zone on a quick-slant touchdown. Padilla's footwork and pocket presence are good; he naturally steps into the pocket. He can nimbly side-step a rusher or step through a significant pass rush, before quickly re-setting his feet for an accurate pass. His film also shows examples of nice activity on the run, finding his targets while rolling left, right, forward or backward.
Almost exclusively a shotgun passer: Most of Padilla's clips show him playing out of a shotgun formation. While Iowa runs shotgun sets, Padilla will be asked to play under center often in Iowa City. The high school-to-college, shotgun-to-under center transition isn't as dramatic or difficult as some make it out to be. But it'll be an extra learning curve for Padilla.
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.