By SHANE STURTZ
Peyton Mansell is a redshirt freshman quarterback for the University of Iowa football team. The Belton, Texas, native is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the preseason depth chart. Mansell sat down with hawkeyesports.com for a Q&A session at the 2018 Iowa Football Media Day.
What was your journey like to the University of Iowa?
“I came from Belton High school and I had a connection with my head coach at the time, Bob Shipley. He was at Texas around the same time (as former offensive coordinator) Greg Davis. This is how my coach told me it happened. One day, coach Davis was watching film and he saw my film. He saw Belton High School and saw who the head coach was, and he was like, ‘I know that guy.’ They said hey, ‘We’re going to make it down to practice one day.’ The day coach said they were going to be there, they weren’t. That’s that, but they ended up showing up the next day. Coach Davis and Bobby Kennedy got there and saw me throw. It went well. I threw well. The chips fell where they did. I came up for my visit and I committed the next Monday.”
What’s your relationship like with the other quarterbacks, especially Nate Stanley?
“It’s great. We all have a different part of our game that we bring to the table. Nate’s done it and did it last year. He did it two years ago. I’m learning a lot from him and having the opportunity to knit pick his brain because he has gone through it all. He has seen most of it. It’s nice to have a tight-knit quarterback group. It’s a good group of guys. We’re trying to help each other get better.”
How has Ken O’Keefe helped your development?
“He’s a low tone kind of guy. He’s not going to be yelling and screaming. He has been around the block. He was here, with the Miami Dolphins, and now he’s back here. He is more like a father figure. Hopefully he doesn’t get mad if I say that. He’s a great coach. I enjoy playing for him. He knows what he’s talking about.”
What was it like to be the scout team quarterback last year? How did that help your development?
“Last year at the beginning, they were talking about scout team. We had heard stories about guys. The first couple of practices, I was like, ‘Man this sucks. We’re on this field, it doesn’t matter.’ But as the weeks went on, I saw how much of an impact good practices had on Saturdays. I talked to some of the guys, ‘We all have to go all out. We have to give the best look for the defense as possible.’ We competed our butts off every single day. I thought that was a good opportunity personally to try and develop my leadership within the scout team so then that would transfer over to when I had a new role, which I was fortunate enough to move up.”
Who’s the most influential person in your life?
“My dad. He played college hockey at West Point so he has been through the college sport aspect. I hate listening to him sometimes, but the things he has told me throughout the years have resonated. I’m a better person because of him.”
Who do you model your game after or like to compare yourself to?
“It’s hard. I love Aaron Rodgers and the way he plays with no regard for anyone else. He’s just balling. I’m named after Peyton Manning so when I was younger he was a guy that I tried to be like. When I got to high school, I realized that I might be a little more athletic than him.”
What are your plans for after football?
“I’m a pre-vet major now. Hopefully vet school, and if that doesn’t work out, I’ve been talking with a bunch of friends about opening up a barbeque restaurant. My parents bought a smoker a couple of months ago when I was home. I fell in love with it. It’s an art. That led to me buying one up here. Every Sunday I smoke ribs and brisket for guys on the team. We usually have a group of 10-15 guys at the house every Sunday eating some brisket and ribs.”
What’s your favorite spot in Iowa City to relax/hangout?
“When I have my dog up, I love going to the dog park with him. We’re always so busy, I usually have guys come over to the house to hang out.”
If you could have lunch with three people (dead or alive), who would they be?
“Mike Eruzione from the Olympic hockey team that beat Russia. Darth Vader — I am a big Star Wars guy, and Aquaman.”
What is your favorite childhood television show?
“Probably Rugrats. I watched that a bunch when I was younger.”
What are some of your hobbies outside of football?
“I smoke meat probably twice a week. That’s a six or seven hour endeavor every time I do that. I love hanging out with my dog. Right now, my fiancé has like 10 dogs at home because we bred our dog twice now. That’s what shifted me from the pre-med to pre-vet. “