IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa released a revised depth chart in January in a transparent attempt to let fans know that C.J. Beathard had supplanted Jake Rudock as its starting quarterback heading into spring practice.
Rudock apparently isn't willing to spend his final season in Iowa City as Beathard's backup.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday that Rudock, a two-year starter for the Hawkeyes, will likely use his final year of eligibility at another school.
Ferentz said he has signed a release for Rudock to transfer to another school with ''no strings attached.'' Rudock wasn't listed on a new spring practice depth chart released Wednesday.
''He's exploring some other options at this point, with our support. Not our encouragement, but certainly our support. We'll work through the process,'' Ferentz said. ''Until he decides what he's going to do definitively, we'll just keep him outside the program.''
The expected move will end the seemingly endless competition between Rudock and Beathard for the top job.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Wiegers is now the backup ahead of true freshmen Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook.
Beathard had become a fan favorite in 2014 because of his big arm, quick feet and easygoing persona. Beathard's teammates even nicknamed him ''Sunshine'' for his resemblance - both in his looks and his playing style - to the quarterback in the popular football movie ''Remember the Titans.''
Beathard now has two years to live up to the hype that preceded his ascension to the starting job.
Rudock beat Beathard out for the top spot in each of the last two seasons. Rudock had his share of memorable moments too, throwing for 4,819 yards with 34 TDs against 18 picks in two seasons as a starter. But the offense was wildly inconsistent with him at the helm.
Whether that was because of personnel, play-calling or the quarterback was a source of endless debate in Iowa.
''The bottom line is, I want him to be happy about his opportunities in front of him,'' Ferentz said. ''If Jake's heart is not totally here, it's probably best that he does go somewhere else.''
Beathard is undoubtedly more athletically gifted than Rudock. The Hawkeyes now have little choice but to hope that translates into more points in 2015.
What's perhaps most intriguing about Beathard is that he appears to be Iowa's first true dual-threat quarterback since Brad Banks nearly won the Heisman Trophy 13 years ago.
Though he only took limited snaps in 2013 and 2014, Beathard has shown the ability to gain significant yardage off scrambles and designed run plays.
With Beathard under center, Iowa has a chance to commit to the read-option run game it flirted with in 2014. Beathard completed 52 of 92 passes last season and ran for 156 yards on just 28 carries.
If Beathard stay healthy next season, Rudock's impending departure could end up having a limited effect on the Hawkeyes. But if Beathard gets hurt, Iowa could be in trouble.
Beathard will probably be the only quarterback on the roster next fall to have taken a collegiate snap.
Wiegers was considered one of the top pocket passers in the country coming out of Detroit Country Day in 2013. But he'll likely need plenty of practice repetitions before he's ready to play in a game.
Boyle and Cook would presumably slot behind Wiegers, though Iowa probably wouldn't mind redshirting both of them if it can.
''We really like the way he does things. So, how fast can we move him forward and get him caught up?'' Ferentz said of Wiegers. ''That's the race he's running right now. I have no reason to think he won't do a good job.''
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