A few weeks ago Kirk Ferentz teased the possibility of Iowa adding another graduate transfer after confirming the arrival of James Butler, a standout running back from Nevada coming off a 1300-yard season. Wednesday night we got confirmation of that additional grad transfer: wide receiver Matt Quarells from New Mexico. Apparently the Mountain West Conference is Iowa's new recruiting hotbed.
Quarells' departure and move to Iowa was confirmed by New Mexico head coach Bob Davie in an article from The Albuquerque Journal.
Junior wide receiver Matt Quarells has left UNM and will play at Iowa this fall as a graduate transfer, UNM coach Bob Davie said.
Davie said Quarells, a St. Louis native, wanted to be closer to home.
Like Butler, Quarells has midwest roots, which helps answer the "why Iowa?" question. Unlike Butler, I don't believe Iowa recruited Quarells heavily as a prep, although even there he had Iowa ties -- he went to Hazelwood Central High School in Missouri, the same high school that former Iowa great Marvin McNutt attended. I'm sure McNutt had good things to say about his Iowa experience to Quarells.
Unlike Butler, Quarells is not arriving in Iowa City fresh off a wildly productive season in 2016. Quarells, listed at 6'1", 195 lbs, was New Mexico's fourth-most productive receiver a year ago, hauling in 11 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown. It's worth noting that the Lobos had an extreme run-pass split last year, though -- they ran the ball 688 times and attempted just 179 passes all season. By comparison, Iowa ran the ball 502 times and threw the ball 310 times last year. Iowa's offense is by no means pass-happy, but it does offer a lot more opportunity for a receiver than New Mexico's offense.
That's particularly true in 2017, since Iowa's receiver depth chart is one big shrug emoji outside of Matt VandeBerg, who is coming off a broken foot that ended his season a year ago. 11 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown isn't anything amazing -- but it's still more than any Iowa returning receiver outside of MVB. Quarells also isn't a one-year rental like most grad transfers -- he redshirted as a true freshman in 2014 and graduated from New Mexico in three years, so he still has two years of eligibility remaining.
Quarells probably won't transform Iowa's passing attack by himself, but he adds another weapon to Iowa's passing game, which is much appreciated. The Hawkeyes can use all the options they can get there. He has plenty of experience blocking from his time in New Mexico's run-heavy offense, which should help him see the field at Iowa, too.
There isn't much video of Quarells available and high school film from three years ago probably doesn't say much about the player he is today, but if you feel like watching it, here you go:
In any event, we're not really going to say "no" to anyone at wide receiver right now. Welcome aboard, Mr. Quarells.