Converted QBs are all the rage

Iowa's Ricky Stanzi (12) and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (15) are among 19 players on the team's roster who were quarterbacks in high school. Chris Morrison/US Presswire

They knew the blitz was coming.

It was Oct. 24 of last season, and the Iowa Hawkeyes, trailing Michigan State 13-9 with two seconds remaining, had the ball at the Spartans' 7-yard line.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi noticed the MSU linebackers creeping forward. Receiver Marvin McNutt noticed it too. And at the snap, when McNutt saw the cornerback in front of him shift his hips for a split second, the receiver cut sharply to the wide-open middle. Stanzi rifled a quick-slant dart for a score, stunning the enemy crowd. The clock read all zeroes.

It was a snapshot of two quarterbacks, one in name, the other in spirit, reading and reacting in perfect sync. McNutt often sees what Stanzi sees. Because he too was a star high school quarterback.