Dekkers, Iowa State start the 2022 season

By Anthony Hanson

Hunter Dekkers made his commitment to Iowa State with plenty of unknowns surrounding his future as the Cyclone starting quarterback.

Brock Purdy, having already broken 18 Iowa State records at the time Dekkers committed, would be the definitive starter at the position for the next two seasons. Additionally, Re-al Mitchell was then Purdy’s backup, and Aidan Bouman was another quarterback committed to the Cyclones in the class of 2020.

The West Sioux standout and four-star recruit came to Iowa State’s prospect camp in the spring of 2019 and showcased his abilities. He impressed Head Coach Matt Campbell and staff enough to receive a scholarship offer that night.

But, to gain the starting position in Ames, Dekkers faced the challenge of competing with and outlasting several other talented quarterback prospects. With Mitchell and Bouman both turning to the transfer portal prior to this season, Dekkers has completed this challenge.

Dekkers will start Saturday, after two seasons as Purdy’s understudy, when the Cyclones take on Southeast Missouri State at 1 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium.

It will be the first start in a collegiate game for Dekkers.

“That’s what I love about him [Dekkers]; he’s always had to work for everything that he’s gotten,” Campbell said at a press conference Tuesday. “He’ll be ready for his opportunity.”

Iowa State, with Dekkers behind center, will face a favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference and begin the follow-up effort to the 2021 season, which had among the highest expectations in program history.

From the 2021 roster, Purdy, Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, Breece Hall, Jake Hummel and Eyioma Uwazurike are now pursuing NFL careers.

Anthony Hanson / KURE 88.5
Junior quarterback Hunter Dekkers speaks with the media days before the first start of his collegiate career.

Dekkers’ ability to command the offense is not hypothetical, said Campbell. The in-game experience Dekkers has gained, while limited, has demonstrated he can be the leader Iowa State needs at the quarterback position, according to his head coach.

Dekkers has completed 25 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in his career as a backup. He’s added two rushing touchdowns in his seven-game career and played important time against No. 10 Iowa and No. 13 Oklahoma on the road.

Days before his first collegiate start, Dekkers isn’t feeling nervous, he said. The new Iowa State quarterback has had since the team lost to Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl to prepare for his role as the starter.

Every step of the offseason, Dekkers worked to earn the trust of his team. The junior quarterback took no days off, he said.

Redshirt senior Xavier Hutchinson will be a wide receiver returning from Iowa State’s passing offense and a weapon at the disposable of the fresh face at quarterback. Hutchinson was the Big 12’s second-leading receiver with 987 yards a season ago. He led the conference with 83 receptions.

“He [Dekkers] can sling it anywhere,” Hutchinson said. “Hopefully, with the receiver room that we have, he’s comfortable out there throwing us the ball.”

Hutchinson is a playmaker for Iowa State, and before his fourth collegiate season, Hutchinson is looking to make even more plays, he said. Specifically, Iowa State’s number one receiver is excited to catch more deep balls in the 2022 season. The arm strength of Dekkers makes that a possibility.

Hutchinson will be joined in the receiving corps by sophomore Jaylin Noel and graduate transfer Dimitri Stanley on Saturday.

“He’s more mature,” Hutchinson said regarding Dekkers. “His mental strength, his belief in himself and his dog mentality: that’s something that has been crafted over the last two years. That’s something that’s different.”

Iowa State and Southeast Missouri State will kickoff at 1 p.m. Saturday and can be streamed on ESPN+

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