Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the Class of 2017 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are hard at work visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We recently talked with 3-star QB Peyton Mansell, but before we bring you the full profile on the Belton (Texas) High School star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
But one teenager, sitting in a Texas Chili’s, all but said I told you so when San Francisco selected Beathard earlier than anyone expected.
“It didn’t surprise me,” Iowa quarterback signee Peyton Mansell said. “I knew how good he was.”
Watching the former Hawkeye exceed expectations only reaffirmed in Mansell why Iowa was the perfect school for him.
“If someone had the same season he did from a spread system, they wouldn’t be getting drafted,” Mansell said. “He was in [Iowa coach] Kirk Ferentz’s program. NFL teams see that, and they know he knows a pro system and what they will do in the NFL.”
The draft went better than Beathard expected. His senior season went worse. A combination of injuries, poor protection early and wide receivers unable to create separation made life tough for Beathard last season.
He threw for 1,929 yards and 17 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions. Beathard led Iowa to the Rose Bowl a season earlier, recording 2,809 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Mansell knew Beathard still possessed the talent to excel. It turns out 49ers thought so, too.
“He was a great quarterback,” Mansell said. “He just kind of got put in a tough position, just he didn’t have as much help as the year before, but he still had [WR] Riley McCarron. He had [TE] George Kittle. He still had weapons around him. That’s why they won eight games. I think had he had the same supporting cast he had the year before he would have been early second-, late first-round guy.”
Mansell, a 3-star 247Sports Composite prospect, earned honorable mention all-state honors as a senior, throwing for 2,526 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,134 yards and 15 touchdowns.
— Aquaman (@mansellpeyton) February 2, 2017
Beathard and Mansell played through injuries during the season. Beathard suffered a left knee bruise in preseason camp and injured his right hamstring in the Outback Bowl. Mansell played the final two games of his final season with a broken right thumb on his throwing hand.
“We are up in the stands like, ‘Please don’t get hit, and he’s out there running people over,’” his dad, Mike Mansell, said. “He’s just the ultimate competitor.”
With Beathard in the draft, his family watched the entire event unfold a little more closely than in the past. It served a good lesson.
“It was really an eye-opener, just the draft in general,” Mike said. “It was a strange year for the quarterbacks. Every year the quarterbacks get the spotlight, but a lot of guys were juniors or seniors, didn’t play the start of their junior year. There wasn’t a guy who came out after his redshirt sophomore year and went No. 1.
“It gives you a nice idea of what happens. You can look at him and say you may not play your freshman year. You may not beat guys out your sophomore year, but if you stick with it and fight and if you have a great year there is potential to go onto the next level.”
His parents aren’t pushing Peyton to the NFL or even care if he plays as a pro. But Peyton is like any other kid about to enter a Power 5 program. He thinks about it.
And like with Beathard, he may be the only one bullish on a potential pro future.
“There is a really, really crazy statistic I’ve been told numerous times about Iowa,” Mansell said. “If you play at least six games your senior year, you have something like a 94 percent chance of playing in the NFL. That pretty much just speaks for itself.”
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.