Iowa QB Cade McNamara announces intention to return to Hawkeyes in 2024

Cade McNamara’s 2023 season is officially over, but it appears the Iowa quarterback will be returning to Iowa City for the 2024 season.

After undergoing surgery to repair his torn ACL, McNamara stated his intention to play for Iowa next season, which would mark his sixth year of eligibility. 

“I had a vision when I decided to come to Iowa and that vision remains the same,” McNamara wrote in a social media post, which included an image of him following his operation. “There is still a lot I want to accomplish in the Black and Gold and look forward to bringing it to life in the 2024 season. Go Hawks!”

McNamara’s statement confirmed what Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after the fifth-year senior suffered the injury on Sept. 30, when he told reporters that the plan was for McNamara to return in 2024. 

“I think his intention is to come back and play next year again,” Ferentz told reporters on Oct. 3. “So, that will be great.”

Iowa added McNamara through the transfer portal last offseason, bringing in the former Michigan quarterback in hopes that he’d jumpstart its offense following a rough 2022 season. He started the first five games, completing 51.1% of his passes for 505 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. 

While Iowa went 4-1 in the games McNamara started, it didn’t have the most thrilling performances offensively as offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz needs his unit to score 25 points per game to keep his job. Iowa reached that threshold twice in the games McNamara started, including a 26-point outing in its Week 5 win over Michigan State, when McNamara got hurt. Iowa was shutout, 31-0, against Penn State in Week 4.

Iowa’s offense has continued to struggle in McNamara’s absence, scoring 20 points or fewer in each of the last three games, including a 12-10 loss to Minnesota in Week 8. Deacon Hill, who has started at quarterback for Iowa in the last three games, has completed just 37.8% of his passes for 427 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Iowa’s offense took another hit when fellow Michigan transfer and tight end Erick All tore his ACL in Week 7, leaving the Hawkeyes without their leading receiver for the remainder of the season.

McNamara began his college career at Michigan in 2019, redshirting his first year in Ann Arbor. He became Michigan’s starting quarterback during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and retained that job for the 2021 season, leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and a college football playoff berth. He threw for 2,575 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions that season, but lost the quarterback battle to sophomore J.J. McCarthy in the first few weeks of the 2022 season.

As McNamara recovers from ACL surgery, he is embracing the challenge that awaits.

“The road ahead is a rigorous one, but nothing I haven’t overcome before.”

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