Tony Moeaki was driving across Iowa on Saturday when he peeked down for a second to see who the Kansas City Chiefs selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
“I almost crashed,” the rookie tight end said of his reaction when Kansas City picked Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
Yes, Moeaki was so excited about the thought of being reunited with the quarterback who tossed him passes for two seasons with the Hawkeyes that he nearly drove off the road.
Moeaki said he fully endorsed Stanzi when two team officials quizzed him about the Iowa quarterback before the draft.
“It was pretty extensive,” Moeaki said. “They do their homework on every player. Me and Rick are really close friends, so obviously they’re going to ask me questions about him.”
There were a few more Stanzi questions that came Moeaki’s way Wednesday night during a 90-minute autograph session with former Hawkeyes Jeff Tarpinian and Brett Morse at Active Endeavors. Moeaki signed replica Kansas City No. 81 jerseys and photos of the one-handed touchdown catch he made in his third NFL game.
“I went to Tony’s last game in Kansas City,” Tarpinian said. “You wouldn’t believe how much Hawkeye gear and 81 jerseys there are already.”
Moeaki quickly became a fan favorite as a rookie. He caught a touchdown pass in the season opener against San Diego and pulled down the highlight-reel catch two weeks later against San Francisco, a grab that ESPN ranked the No. 2 play of the season.
Moeaki finished the season with 47 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He caught at least three passes in 10 games.
“It was awesome just being a part of such a great organization,” he said. “It was a blessing. I’m really glad they picked me up. It was a great situation for me. We made the playoffs. We didn’t go as far as we wanted to. We’re not satisfied with just going to the playoffs. Hopefully we’ll build off that.”
Moeaki is among the pack of former Hawkeyes who have returned to Iowa City to train under Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle during the NFL lockout. He caught passes Wednesday morning from his future and former quarterback and talked about the Chiefs playbook.
“It’s going to be a great fit for Rick,” Moeaki said. “We have a good quarterback group in Kansas City, so they’ll push each other.”
Moeaki said Stanzi will step into a system in Kansas City that’s similar to the one he ran at Iowa. He said some of the plays are called the same.
“I went nuts (when the Chiefs picked Stanzi),” said Tarpinian, Stanzi’s roommate at Iowa. “I was so happy for him. We talked about that, that if that happened it would be great if anybody got to go to Kansas City with Tony. Tony’s always been one of our best friends. Rick was fired up about it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football