This year’s NFL Draft is loaded with quarterback prospects, which includes Nate Stanley from Iowa. After spending four years with the program, he’s ready for the next chapter of his career.
Stanley had an incredible run as a three-year starter at Iowa. He’s second all-time in program history in passing yards and touchdowns.
Not only did Stanley have success in the regular season with the Hawkeyes, he’s one of two Iowa quarterbacks to post a 3-0 record in bowl games. The other signal-caller to own that record is Ricky Stanzi.
We sat down with Stanley to discuss his favorite moments from his time at Iowa, his experience at the NFL Combine and much more. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: What was your favorite win at Iowa?
Nate Stanley: Yeah definitely 2017 against Ohio State, that would be my favorite. Kinnick at nighttime is just different as a different atmosphere and to beat them the way that we did, you know – in a truly team win – was just super awesome. It was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of and something I’ll remember for a long time.
The Spun: I was going to ask you when’s the loudest Kinnick Stadium has ever been. Would you say it was during the Ohio State game?
NS: Yeah, I think that’s definitely one of the loudest times that I’ve heard Kinnick, especially on that opening play when Amani Hooker got that pick-six. It was crazy, so yeah that was definitely one of the loudest times I’ve heard Kinnick.
The Spun: What’s the final step for Iowa to win the Big Ten?
NS: I think just winning those close games. We play in a lot of close games, but we also lost three games by a total of 14 points last year. So, really just being able to finish a couple more of those close games in the fourth quarter and squeak out one or two more of those wins. I think that’s huge and something that we weren’t able to do, but going forward, I’m pretty optimistic that they’ll be able to do that and compete for Big Ten championships.
Nate Stanley has had 13 "pretty special" moments hoisting trophies in the locker room since becoming a Hawkeye in 2016:
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) November 20, 2019
The Spun: What’s the most important thing you learned from C.J. Beathard in your freshman season?
NS: I think just the preparation that he put in, kind of the way that he went about studying the game. When I went into college, I didn’t understand how to watch tape and the time commitment that it takes to really understand and know the game plan. He did a great job at teaching me how to get into a routine and the most effective way to watch tape. He had been in the quarterback room at Iowa with a couple of different good quarterbacks and players and they all had their own styles, so he would share with me what they would try to do and things like that.
The Spun: Who’s the best player you’ve faced in practice and during games?
NS: The best player I faced every day in practice was Desmond King. I wasn’t going against him a lot, but when I did, he was by far one of the best players that I’ve played against. As far as in games, Nick Bosa from Ohio State when we played them. This year I’d say Zack Baun from Wisconsin and Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State. Those two were both great players and I hope the best for them going to go forward.
The Spun: How do you feel you performed at the NFL Combine?
NS: Yeah, I thought all my meetings went really well – both the formal and informal interviews. I feel really confident with how those went and I feel like I connected with a lot of coaches. On the field, I felt that I performed pretty well. I’m happy with my 40-yard dash time and how I threw. I think I performed well enough in some of those athletic testing drills to show that I’m a little more mobile than what people might’ve thought.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) February 28, 2020
The Spun: Is there a coach or team that you met with during the NFL Combine that you thought to yourself it would be a dream come true to play for them?
NS: I had a really good talk with the Cowboys and the Dolphins. Both those coaching staffs were ones that I got along with very well. I had two really good meetings with them and felt that I would fit with their offensive schemes and coaching staffs very well.
The Spun: Which quarterbacks do you try to model your game after?
NS: As far as the preparation aspect goes, I had the honor to go to the Manning Camp last summer, so I had the opportunity to sit down and ask Peyton about how he goes about preparing. I’ve also had a cool connection with Coach Ferentz, who is good friends with Tom Moore, who was Peyton’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. Talking with him, I tried to model my preparation for games after Peyton and the amount of time that he puts into it. But when I’m out on the field, you see guys like Tom Brady and Drew Brees and their competitive nature and fiery attitude out in the field. Those are two guys that I try to try to learn from and take parts from their game and incorporate into mine.
The Spun: What’s the one area of your game you’re trying to fix heading into the draft?
NS: In college, my completion percentage was just under 60%. That’s something that I knew was going to be a question from people going into the combine and throughout this whole draft process. That’s something that I’ve taken steps to improve and continue to work on. I never really worked with a quarterback coach in high school or in college. Now I’m working with Tony Racioppi, who is based in New Jersey. He has really helped me develop and become more fundamentally sound in my lower-body mechanics. I feel like I’m a lot more consistent and accurate. So, just that accuracy is the biggest thing that I’ve continued to work on from the end of the season and that I’m going to continue to work on moving forward.
NFL Combine ready. A ton of time, hard work and discipline to get this moment. No better feeling as an athlete then when you know you’re ready to compete. Let’s goo @Njstan4 @TEST_Football #hawkeyes #nflcombine pic.twitter.com/JgeWU5JJth
— Tony Racioppi (@Tonyrazz03) February 27, 2020
The Spun: Looking back at your career with the Hawkeyes, what’s the one thing you’re going to miss the most?
NS: I think just the relationships that I’ve made with my teammates. Obviously in the NFL you’re there for eight months maybe, but then you kind of go your separate ways in the offseason. I think for me the biggest thing that I’m going to miss is those times in the offseason just hanging out with my teammates and building that bond together.
This past season, Stanley threw for 2,951 yards and 16 touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with an impressive performance against USC in the Holiday Bowl.
Stanley is projected to be a mid-round pick in the upcoming draft. In addition to having the ideal size at quarterback, the former Hawkeye does a great job limiting turnovers.
While the rest of Stanley’s career is still unwritten, there’s no doubt that he’ll be remembered as one of the best signal-callers in Iowa history.