Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla enters NCAA transfer portal

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

Iowa football's off-season schedule accelerated after the team's 24-17 loss to Nebraska last Friday dashed hopes of a Big Ten championship game appearance. The first domino fell Tuesday morning when junior quarterback Alex Padilla entered the NCAA transfer portal.

The backup appeared in two games this season and 11 games over the course of his career. He will enter the portal as a graduate transfer after finishing his degree in December.

Padilla's last time in an Iowa uniform came in the Nebraska loss, when he relieved injured starting quarterback Spencer Petras. Postgame, after completing 16-of-33 passes for 141 yards, Padilla was asked about his future with the program.

“I haven’t had the chance to really think about any of that right now,” Padilla said. “I’m just reflecting on this loss, and I’ll continue to try to progress as a player myself and look towards the next couple of weeks as kind of building a stepping stone for myself. I have time to reflect in the next couple weeks, but we’ll see what happens.”

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Padilla is best known for a four-game stretch as a starter in 2021 when Petras was injured. Padilla's efforts helped propel the Hawkeyes to the 2021 Big Ten West title. There was speculation of a transfer at the end of last season but he decided to return and battle for the starting position. He remained Iowa's No. 2 quarterback throughout 2022 and appeared in just one game prior to the season finale, in the second half of Iowa's 54-10 loss to Ohio State.

Padilla's decision to transfer isn't surprising, but it further puts into focus the future of Iowa's quarterback room. Petras, a senior, could utilize his COVID year for 2023 but there's no timetable on that decision. The Hawkeyes have two other quarterbacks on the roster, redshirt freshman Joe Labas and true freshman Carson May, but neither has seen game action.

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Quarterback was one of Iowa's biggest question marks entering the 2022 season and remains one of the biggest as the off-season approaches. The future is to be determined and Padilla could still remove his name from the portal at any time, but now one possible option for 2023 is likely off the table.