All-American To NFL Scouts: I Can Help You In All Three Phases

Iowa State product Joel Lanning switched from quarterback to middle linebacker last season

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 21, 2018 - 9:11 am

USA Today Images


A lot of college football players change positions. A wide receiver will become a defensive back. A tight end will become an offensive lineman. That happens.

But a quarterback becoming a middle linebacker? At a Power Five program, no less?

That’s exactly what Iowa State’s Joel Lanning did last season. He played more than 900 snaps, led the Cyclones with 114 tackles, and had 6.0 sacks, one interception, and recovered one fumble. Offensively, he threw for a touchdown and ran for two others.

He was a named a First-Team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America for his efforts.

“It was pretty crazy,” Lanning said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I didn’t really think I was playing at that type of level. I was just going out there, playing ball and having fun with my teammates. When our football media guy (told me about it), it was pretty crazy to think about it, to be on the level with all those big-time guys like Saquon Barkley, Baker Mayfield and some of the other big-time guys on the defensive side. It’s just crazy to be at a level like that.”

In 2016, Lanning threw for 1,290 yards and nine touchdowns, ran for 518 yards and 11 touchdowns, and ended the season with 121 consecutive passes without at interception.

At 6-2, 230, he is an intriguing option for teams heading into the NFL Draft.

“They’re going to get the same person every single day that’s going to come in and work hard and do whatever they can to help the team,” Lanning said. “My situation is just kind of unique because I can help you on all three sides of the ball: special teams, offense, and defense. I’ve had success on all three sides. Hopefully teams realize that and see that. I’m just going to come in and do anything I possibly can to help the team get wins because at the end of the day, that’s what everyone wants to do is win games. Whatever my role is, I’m going to do the best I can at it.”

It sure would be nice if Lanning could get paid like a quarterback and a linebacker, wouldn’t it?

“Yeah,” Lanning said, laughing. “Yeah, that would be really nice.”