Jacob Park took a leave of absence from Iowa State football right before the Cyclones took off at mid-season. Now, he is officially heading elsewhere.
On October 6, Iowa State announced that starting quarterback Jacob Park had stepped away from the football program for "personal medical conditions." Park has revealed that it was actually a suspension for marijuana use, that turned into an indefinite leave. The next day, with Kyle Kempt and quarterback-turned-linebacker-turned-two-way player Joel Lanning under center, the Cyclones beat Oklahoma in Norman.
Kempt put together a very strong season down the stretch, with Lanning seeing some snaps as well. It looked pretty certain that Park's career in Ames was over, and that is official today.
Head coach Matt Campbell granted Park his release, and he will transfer.
On Tuesday, Park outlined his reasons for leaving the program. From the Des Moines Register:
In Park's first comments to the media since then, Park said the leave stemmed from problems off the field. He said the challenge of balancing school, football, fatherhood and living with the mother of his child became overwhelming. Park also said he failed a drug test because of marijuana usage and was facing a one-game suspension that was supposed to have been served in Iowa State's game against Oklahoma on Oct. 7.
“It was not something that was very easy to deal with when you have so much high-pressure situations that you’re being put into, as I do,” Park said Monday. “And it’s a coping mechanism that I understand now is not acceptable and that I’m still working on this to this day.”
Park also spoke out about the harsh criticism he's faced from ISU fans, who he said were the "first ones to turn" on him. He also cited Kempt's pursuit of a sixth year of eligibility as a reason to transfer.
Park began his college career at Georgia, before transferring to Trident Technical College in South Carolina, and then Iowa State. He is on track to graduate, which will allow him to play next season.
Iowa State has barred him from transferring to Big 12 programs, Iowa, Northern Iowa, Drake, and other teams on Iowa State's future schedules.
In four games with Park under center, Iowa State went 2-2. He was 100-for-162 for 1,181 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions.