The Daily Hoosier
With only three weeks to go until the season opener in Lucas Oil Stadium against Ball State, IU has yet to name a starting quarterback. The trio of Peyton Ramsey, Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle have been battling for the job throughout spring ball and fall camp, but one has not emerged as the clear starter yet. With a new offense to learn following the hire of offensive coordinator Kalen Deboer, the three competitors will have every opportunity to demonstrate their skills to the coaching staff. Will Ramsey earn the job again or will one of the up and coming underclassmen beat him out? Let’s breakdown the competition.
Peyton Ramsey – RS Junior
As last year’s starter, Ramsey is the standard that the other two competitors must beat. He had a solid season last year throwing for 2,875 yards and 19 touchdowns and running for an additional 354 yards and 5 touchdowns. Though not known for his arm strength, Ramsey is accurate with short and intermediate throws and generally makes good decisions with his passing, though he threw 13 interceptions in 12 games last season. Ramsey’s best trait, however, is his leadership. Head coach Tom Allen has gone on and on about the importance of having a leader play the quarterback position, and Ramsey’s leadership will likely give him a leg up on the competition. Though Ramsey’s skill set as a quarterback is limited, he has the experience and personality traits the coaching staff are looking for in the quarterback position. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Ramsey winning the job.
Chance of Starting – 65%
Michael Penix Jr – RS Freshman
Coming off a season-ending ACL tear last year, Michael Penix Jr. is an intriguing prospect to start at quarterback. The most apparent and exciting aspect of Penix’s game is his arm strength. He has an absolute cannon. Watching him throw the ball last year, it was impressive the difference in the velocity of the throws and how far he could throw it compared to Peyton Ramsey. What’s more, during spring and summer workouts before last season he improved his 40-yard dash time by about 2 tenths of a second dropping from 4.71 seconds to under 4.50 seconds. Though he only played sparingly last season, Penix quickly won the hearts of fans who were getting frustrated with an offense that seemed to be bogged down by its inability to push the ball downfield. During the Penn State game when he tore his ACL, Penix lit a fire under the fans and the offense and led a pair of productive drives as a replacement for a struggling Peyton Ramsey. Penix was limited through spring practice and unable to play in the spring game due to his recovery from the ACL tear he suffered, and those lost reps will hurt him dearly in the quarterback competition. Though he offers great size, speed and arm strength, it is unlikely he will start for the Hoosiers in the fall.
Chance to Start – 10%
Jack Tuttle – RS Freshman
After transferring from Utah and being granted a waiver to be immediately eligible for the Hoosiers, Jack Tuttle is an intriguing prospect for the Hoosiers. A late bloomer in high school, Tuttle ended up as a four-star recruit, rated as a top 10 pro-style quarterback in the 2018 class by most recruiting services and participated in the Elite 11 quarterback competition alongside quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Justin Fields of Ohio State. He is also the highest-rated quarterback to sign with the Hoosiers, albeit a year later, since Nate Sudfeld in 2012. Tuttle has the prototypical size and great arm strength and should push both Penix and Ramsey for the starting job. While Ramsey is the safe option due to his experience as a starter and his leadership, Tuttle appears to be the type of player that could push a team like the Hoosiers over the top.
Chance of Starting – 15%
Head coach Tom Allen has said a decision on who the starter will be is coming sooner than later. All three quarterbacks offer different skill sets and levels of experience which will certainly force a tough decision from the coaching staff.