Iowa State Joel Lanning(7) looks to avoid Texas Breckyn Hager(44) and Jeffery McCulloch(23) in the first quarter at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

BEVO BEAT Football

Top opponents for Texas in 2017, No. 100: Iowa State LB Joel Lanning

Posted May 25th, 2017

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The countdown to kickoff is on. Over the next 100 days before Texas takes on Maryland, we’re counting down the 100 best players the Longhorns will face in 2017. This series is all about impressing your friends at pregame tailgates and watch parties, so grab a notepad and buckle up.

Who is he? 

No, that’s not a typo in the headline. Former Iowa State quarterback Joel Lanning is suiting up at linebacker for Iowa State in 2017, and by all accounts he’s pretty good at it. Rather than take a graduate transfer after Jacob Park unseated him last season, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound redshirt senior worked his way into the starting mike linebacker spot during spring practice.

How can the Longhorns stop him?

Lanning won’t be the best linebacker Texas faces this season, but he might be the only one expected to take offensive snaps. He said he’s been playing both sides of the ball throughout the spring, and even some on special teams. The Cyclones could employ a “Joel-Dozer” package (think 18 Wheeler). Wouldn’t that be full circle? In case you forgot, Lanning quarterbacked the Cyclones in that 24-0 debacle in 2015.

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Past encounters

Lanning completed 19 of 37 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown on that infamous Halloween of 2015. Last year, he went 12-for-22 for 140 yards as Texas returned the favor at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

They said it

  • Iowa State coach Matt Campbell:  “You look at the National Football League and what the linebackers look like — they look like Joel. He’s one of our best athletes on our team. If he can help us in different areas that can strengthen our football program — we’re really going to be diligent in finding ways that he can do that for us.”
  • Lanning: “Coach Campbell told me, ‘If everything works, you’re probably going to be throwing up after all the games because you’re going to be playing so much.’”

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