Alex Padilla is returning to Iowa football and plans to compete for starting quarterback job in 2022

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Mike Padilla has gotten inquiries from a lot of people in the past few weeks, wondering what son Alex’s football plans were for next season.

Padilla kept telling them the same thing: Nothing’s changed.

And nothing has changed. Alex Padilla isn't entering the NCAA transfer portal. He will return to Iowa this spring with the hopes of winning the Hawkeyes’ quarterback job for the 2022 season.

“Nothing’s changed. His mindset is still the same,” Mike Padilla told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. “He wants to get back to work and prepare for a successful season.”

Alex Padilla will return to campus Sunday, with second-semester classes beginning Tuesday. The Greenwood Hills, Colorado, native will be entering his fourth-year junior season. He is on track to graduate in December.

Speculation was swirling around the Hawkeyes’ quarterback position before, during and after the 20-17 Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky. Padilla led Iowa to three wins in relief of two-year starter Spencer Petras — at Northwestern and home games vs. Minnesota and Illinois — but was pulled at halftime of the Hawkeyes’ eventual 28-21 win at Nebraska in the season finale.

As a sophomore, Alex Padilla completed 49.1% of his passes for 636 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. He went 3-0 as a Hawkeye starter.

Petras, who had been dealing with a shoulder injury, regained the starting job for the Hawkeyes' 42-3 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game. When Petras got the start and took every snap in the Citrus Bowl, conversation amplified that Padilla might be inclined to look for a spot elsewhere. Mike Padilla said that wasn’t the case, and that his son is excited to remain a Hawkeye.

More on Padilla:How Alex Padilla's football journey prepared him for Iowa quarterback shot

The quarterback position now becomes the biggest spring storyline at Iowa, despite the fact it appears there will be very few changes (if any) to the number of contestants.

The Register can confirm Petras is returning, too. Petras told reporters after the Citrus Bowl, “see you next year,” and outlined a plan for improvement in the offseason. Add Padilla and promising freshman Joey Labas to the mix, and there will be a lot of intrigue about who might become QB1 for the 2022 Hawkeyes, who will likely be picked among the favorites to repeat as Big Ten West champs.