By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Ask most Hawkeye fans and they probably couldn’t name the last Colorado native to play football for Iowa.
But the answer to that question will become much easier after three-star quarterback Alex Padilla signs his national letter of intent on Wednesday morning.
If it hadn't been for Padilla's loyalty, and a tip from Iowa graduate assistant Josh Sinagoga, Iowa probably would've had a different quarterback in its 2019 class.
“Originally, Central Michigan was the first the offer me,” Padilla said. “There was a graduate assistant there that moved to Iowa so that’s kind of how the connection started. The graduate assistant contacted me when I was at camp there and they offered me not shortly after.
“I hadn’t really been in contact with any school of that tier before that but any school in the Big Ten that’s a big offer, especially Iowa. It was really exciting for me and my family.”
Padilla, a native of Greenwood Village, Co., was offered a scholarship by Iowa in June, and he waited less than a week to verbally commit to the Hawkeyes.
Things were quiet for Padilla with regard to recruiting until October when Georgia offered him a scholarship.
And what might have been a tough decision for many recruits was an easy one for Padilla.
“Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult,” Padilla said of stivcking with the Hawkeyes. “Iowa is just a lot different than a lot of the other places I saw throughout the recruiting process as far as the people go.
“That’s really what you commit to, you commit to the people there. Coach Ferentz and coach O’Keefe were all very sincere and honest about what they expected, and I just really appreciated that and it was an easy choice to turn down Georgia.”
Dave Logan is Padilla’s coach at Cherry Creek High School and Logan said he didn’t feel a need to intervene too much with Padilla's recruitment.
“(I did) pretty much I do with all of my guys no matter if you’re a division one recruit or a small college recruit or what have you, it’s about the fit,” Logan said “It’s about going somewhere you can see yourself living for five years. It’s about do they have, in terms of academically, what you want to study. For specific to football, it’s about the system they run.
“In this case, Iowa had done a really good job recruiting Alex. I think the Georgia offer was intriguing, but I think Alex is a really loyal young guy and comes from a great family. My job is just to lay it out there and try to give them all the material, the information, and let that family and ultimately the player decided what they want to do.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Padilla said distance from home played a small role in his decision to turn Georgia down. But ultimately the longevity and the consistency of head coach Kirk Ferentz is what made Padilla stick with the Hawkeyes.
The 63-year old Ferentz is in his 20th season as the Iowa head coach and is the longest tenured college football coach in the country.
Iowa will make its 16th appearance in a bowl game under Ferentz when it faces Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla.
“That’s a huge factor,” Padilla said. “You see it all the time. There’s a kid in my class who just de-committed for the second time. Having that stability is really important because you know he’s going to be there and there’s not going to be any changes anytime soon. So having that stability – nothing is going to change and I think that’s really important.”
Padilla completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,951 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior.
He also added four touchdowns on the ground and threw just four interceptions while leading his team to the 5A state championship game.
Padilla may not have the gaudy numbers that fans like to see, but Logan believes his style of play will mesh well with the system at Iowa.
“I think he fits coach Ferentz’s system really well,” Logan said. “He’s a guy that can operate under center, he’s a guy that can operate in shotgun. In watching Iowa over the years, they’re a run first team that gets involved in play action.
“They’re not going to run a lot, if any, of the spread stuff. Alex is not really a spread quarterback, although I think he runs well enough that he can run some. But he’s a guy that has the ability to operate in the pocket and understands how important ball security is and he’s going to be accurate when he’s called upon to throw the ball.”
Padilla said he plans to enroll at Iowa in January and is eager to start working with quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe. Padilla feels comfortable around O'Keefe after building a strong relationship with him during the recruiting process.
“I love coach O’Keefe,” Padilla said. “He’s a really nice guy and I think we’ll get along really well. He’s got a really good sense of humor, I love his coaching style, I think I’ll respond really well to it. He’s got a lot of knowledge about the game, he’s been doing it for a really long time so I can’t wait to start working with him, I can learn a lot from him.”
Iowa’s 2019 recruiting class
Dane Belton, DB, 6-1, 185, Tampa, Fla.
Offers: Iowa, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Louisville, Marshall, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Tulane, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Western Kentucky
Justin Britt, OL, 6-4, 282, Indianapolis, Ind.
Offers: Iowa, Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Washington State and Western Michigan
Jack Campbell, LB, 6-4, 210, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Offers: Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota
Sebastian Castro, DB, 6-1, 198, Oak Lawn, Ill.
Offers: Iowa, Ball State, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Syracuse and Toledo
Tyler Endres, OL, 6-6, 280, Norwalk, Iowa
Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Noah Fenske, OL, 6-5, 280, New Hampton, Iowa
Offers: Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota State
Tyler Goodson, RB, 5-10, 192, Suwanee, Ga.
Offers: Iowa, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Ball State, Boston College, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida International, Georgia State, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Marshall, Memphis, Michigan State, Nebraska, Southern Mississippi, Syracuse, Troy, Tulane, UAB, Wake Forest, Washington State and West Virginia
Jalen Hunt, DE, 6-2, 250, Belleville, Mich.
Offers: Iowa, Ball State, Boston College, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Toledo and Western Michigan
Desmond Hutson, WR, 6-4, 190, Raytown, Mo.
Offers: Iowa and South Dakota State
Jestin Jacobs, LB, 6-4, 205, Clayton, Ohio
Offers: Iowa, Akron, Ball State, Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Duke, Eastern Michigan, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Toledo and Vanderbilt
Jake Karchinksi, DL, 6-5, 245, De Pere, Wis.
Offers: Iowa, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Syracuse and Western Michigan
Logan Lee, TE, 6-5, 225, Orion, Ill.
Offers: Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Northwestern and Wisconsin
Josiah Miamen, TE, 6-4, 225, Dunlap, Ill.
Offers: Iowa, Illinois, Kent State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan and Wisconsin
Ezra Miller, OL, 6-6, 310, Holstein, Iowa
Offers: Iowa and Iowa State
Alex Padilla, QB, 6-2, 195, Greenwood Village, Co.
Offers: Iowa, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, North Texas and UNLV
Chris Reames, DE, 6-7, 220, Van Meter, Iowa
Offers: Iowa, Air Force, Army and Eastern Michigan