How Ricky Stanzi Offered Advice To 2021 Recruit Joey Labas

Adam Hensley

When talking to 2021 football commit Joey Labas, Iowa quarterback coach Ken O’Keefe called upon an old friend: Ricky Stanzi.

Stanzi had been invited on a Zoom call with the quarterback room at Iowa to talk about his experience with the program and offer advice to current Hawkeye signal-callers.

After, O’Keefe asked Stanzi, an Ohio native and former Hawkeye quarterback, to watch some film on Labas and give his thoughts.

“I signed off on (Labas) right away,” Stanzi said in a phone interview. “I think he’s got that moxie. It’s sort of hard to put in a stat. But he has the ability to make a play, stretch the field, and get rid of the ball quick. He’s got that athletic ability that allows him to improvise. The highlights I saw, I really liked.”

Labas, a 6-4, 190-pound quarterback from Broadview Heights, Ohio, is both a four-star prospect and one of the latest to commit for the 2021 class.

Last season with Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Labas threw for 2,355 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just two interceptions.

“The first thing I saw was his quick release,” Stanzi said. “When I see a quick release, those are hard to come by, and it’s really hard to teach. When I saw it’s already there, I’m like, ‘This is beautiful.’”

But once Stanzi gave O’Keefe his thoughts on Labas, he and the high school junior started talking. Labas was able to pick his brain, something he valued during his recruiting process.

“I was just asking (Stanzi) about his viewpoint on recruiting and coaches, his viewpoint on Coach O’Keefe especially,” Labas said. “Hearing it from a different point of view was good. Also, him being from Ohio, it was pretty cool. It was a good conversation, and it was good talking to him.”

The similarities are there between Labas and Stanzi, just in terms of the basics – the Ohio connection, similar recruiting rankings, and size.

“He had Akron and a few other offers, and then Iowa,” Labas said “Same kind of situation as me.”

But those similarities carry onto the field, too. Stanzi said he “absolutely” sees resemblances in their abilities on the field.

“He can move well in the pocket and get out of tough situations and make a play,” Stanzi said. “That was always something I tried to pride myself on, to make a play outside the pocket and where I needed it. I saw that with Joey, and that was what excited me.”

Labas said he plans on setting up time to work with Stanzi in the near future.

Stanzi currently works with the GOATA (Greatest Of All Time Athletes) locomotion system. His job wouldn’t necessarily be to tweak Labas’ arm mechanics, though. With GOATA, Stanzi focuses his attention on how energy moves throughout the body (specifically in footwork) and hones in the most efficient methods.

Stanzi utilizes slow-motion video to break down athletes’ strides and planting motion, and that’s what he’d like to do with Labas.

“That would be something I’d love to do with Joe so he could get a better idea of his own movement errors,” Stanzi said. “Fixing those movement errors is going to translate right into his throwing motion. He’s a kid with great athleticism, he’s got good feet, and a quick release, so there’s really not a whole lot you want to touch. He does a lot of great things. You kind of want to talk the game, talk the Xs and Os… you want to give him cheat codes in a way because you’ve been through it before.”

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