Spring football practice at Iowa State begins on March 19, and over the next 10 days, the Ames Tribune will take a look, position by position, at what to expect from each group. First up: Quarterbacks.

One of the biggest offseason questions that faced the Iowa State football team was what would happen with the quarterback position.

The offseason departures — Jacob Park’s transfer and Joel Lanning’s graduation — and Kyle Kempt’s perceived long shot at getting a sixth season of eligibility were all expected to leave the Cyclones shorthanded in scholarship quarterbacks for 2018.

That all changed last month.

Kempt was given another season by the NCAA, which immediately gave credibility, stability and depth to the quarterbacks’ room. This spring, the senior will be the example and steadying force for redshirt sophomore Zeb Noland, redshirt freshman Devon Moore and true freshman Re-al Mitchell.

“It’s nice going into the first spring practice having four quarterbacks healthy and ready to go,” ISU coach Matt Campbell told cyclones.com. “Our first two years, we basically only had two quarterbacks who could participate in spring practice. Now you got four guys, and we have competition. All four guys bring something to the table.”

Kempt, a walk-on turned scholarship recipient, won’t blow defenses away with his speed or arm strength. The way ISU designs the offense, though, it’s not always necessary for him to be a high-level athlete.

In 2017, Kempt was 5-3 as a starter and recorded wins against No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 TCU while guiding ISU to an 8-5 record and a victory against Memphis in the Liberty Bowl. He set ISU’s single-season completion percentage record at 66.3 percent.

The Cyclones’ offense has played to Kempt’s strengths. That includes heavy doses of running back David Montgomery, short screens and jump balls to big receivers. To take the next step this fall, Kempt (6-foot-5 and 210 pounds) wants to expand the offensive possibilities with an improved skill set.

“I’ve got to work harder than I’ve ever worked before,” Kempt said last month. “Deep-ball accuracy. I know that was a big thing lacking in our offense, and that’s on me. Just more so staying alive in the pocket a little better and being more decisive with the football sometimes.

“There’s just a lot of things I need to take care of. Red-zone offense, I could just name a thousand things I’m not really happy with last season, but that’s how we need to be.”

One of the most intriguing things to watch this offseason will be the progression of Noland. He relieved an injured Kempt late in the first half against Oklahoma State last fall and finished with 263 passing yards.

In his lone start, at Baylor, Noland (6-foot-2 and 222 pounds) was 14 of 28 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard strike to Hakeem Butler. That performance, while an overall success, left some things to clean up this offseason: improved accuracy and quick decision-making are key.

It’s been said often Campbell and his staff look for ways to breed competition within position groups. It’s the only way to keep starters from getting stagnant, and it’s a motivation tool for backups. It’s especially important at quarterback.

ISU hasn’t had a quarterback start every game in a season since Ames native Austen Arnaud in 2008. The last 10 years, it’s been common to see two or three quarterbacks — whether by injury or coaches decision — get the nod in a game. Having Kempt and Noland both up the ante in their games is essential.

There are plenty of unknowns with Moore, who is coming off a torn ACL he suffered last fall camp. The lefty’s arm strength was apparent during his high school career at Waterloo West, but his size at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds is equally intriguing.

How much Moore gets in at quarterback or under center will not likely be known until this fall, but don’t be surprised to see him used as more than just a passer. His size and athleticism make him a candidate to line up in different parts of the offense.

During Campbell’s first two seasons in Ames, he’s not been shy about using true freshmen if he thinks they can contribute. Given Mitchell’s athleticism and football I.Q., he could be one of those freshman in 2018.

Kempt and Noland likely head into spring practices as QB1 and QB2, respectively, but Mitchell certainly fits into the equation somewhere. He is a dual-threat quarterback with a track background, making him an intriguing prospect to be used potentially in the pass game.

Although he won’t be here for spring practices, newly signed Gilbert (Ariz.) quarterback Brock Purdy will arrive in June and add to the depth of the position. His presence is added insurance to a position that appeared to be thin headed into the offseason.

How much or in what way these four or five quarterbacks are used in 2018 is yet to be seen, but the diversity in all of their skill sets is one of the most intriguing things about the group.

Predicting the depth chart

1. Kyle Kempt, senior, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds

2. Zeb Noland, redshirt sophomore, 6-foot-2, 222 pounds

3. Devon Moore, redshirt freshman, 6-foot-4, 225 pounds

4. Re-al Mitchell, freshman, 5-11, 190 pounds, OR Brock Purdy, freshman, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds