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Sophomore likely best candidate to replace Vandenberg

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(Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock scrambles for yardage during a practice on Saturday. While coach Kirk Ferentz won't name a starter until the end of the week, Rudock seems like the logical choice.

IOWA CITY – Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn't quite ready to announce a starting quarterback.

But it sure sounds as if he has already picked sophomore Jake Rudock.

Rudock took nearly all the snaps with the starters Saturday night during an open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium. Redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard ran most of the plays with the second unit, and junior college transfer Cody Sokol appears to have fallen back to third on the depth chart.

Ferentz will likely announce a starter for the Aug. 31 opener against Northern Illinois by the end of next week – and all indications are that Rudock will get the nod.

"He's doing a good job. No real complaints there, but he's still a young guy," Ferentz said of Rudock. "He's done a good job, and I don't think anyone is displeased with the other two guys either."

The three-man race to become Iowa's starter has been about the quietest quarterback conundrum in recent memory.

After all, how are fans supposed to get riled up when none of them have seen any of the candidates take a snap?

Rudock entered fall camp as the presumed leader, if only because he was listed as the backup to James Vandenberg in 2012. Rudock never saw the field, of course, but this is his third year in Iowa's system – one more than Sokol or Beathard.

The 20-year-old pre-med major is listed at 6-foot-3 and seems to be the traditional pro-style quarterback often preferred by the Hawkeyes.

"He has more experience, and that plays to his advantage," Ferentz said about Rudock. "He's practiced with poise, for the most part...and he's improving."

Beathard, a redshirt freshman, led all Tennessee in passing yards, completions and touchdowns as a junior and senior at Battle Ground Academy. But Beathard is also the youngest of the three at just 19.

Sokol starred at Scottsdale Community College in 2011, throwing for 3,807 yards and 43 TDs, before redshirting last season.

But it seems like he's looking up at Rudock and Beathard – who has apparently made big strides since spring ball.

""He's gotten better. He threw some good balls [Saturday] night," Ferentz said of Beathard. "That's the good thing about guys that haven't played. They've got a bigger window to improve. Whoever starts, I mean the next guy is one play away from being ready. So that's how we're kind of looking at it, like we've got to get two guys ready here."

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