Indiana Football 2018 Season Preview: Quarterbacks

It’s a good thing we didn’t publish this yesterday.  Five days before the season kicks off — and it would have been old news.

Last week, a months long quarterback competition came to an end when Peyton Ramsey was announced as the starter.  Today, it was announced that graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins has left the IU football program.  It was also announced that true freshman and Indiana Mr. Football Reese Taylor would be moving back to the quarterback position after a brief stint at cornerback and receiver.

There’s still a few more days until Saturday’s opener at Florida International.  Stay tuned for further developments.

WHO IS GONE

Should we start with Dawkins?  What was it, a little over four months since he committed?  He’s new, he’s gone, and we move on.

Richard Lagow certainly had mixed results, but when he was on, his production was undeniable.  Lagow finished his career first all-time in 400-yard passing games (2), fourth in 300-yard passing games (5), and sixth in passing touchdowns (34) and completions (425).

Nick Tronti announced that he was transferring in April.  He will play at Florida Atlantic.

WHO IS BACK

The most notable returner is of course your 2018 starter Peyton Ramsey.  All the redshirt sophomore did in year one was to set the program record with a greater than 65% completion percentage.  While questions linger about his arm strength, Ramsey addressed those in the video below.  In 2017 Ramsey threw for 1,252 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine games (4 starts).

Mike Fiacable is a walk-on redshirt junior.  He saw limited action last year against Georgia Southern, Charleston Southern and Rutgers.

WHO IS NEW

Michael Penix is the headliner in the freshman group.  By all accounts he was a legitimate competitor for the starting role — and was in it until the end.  This was only round one of the Penix vs. Ramsey QB competition.  A gifted athlete with a strong arm, Penix will be even tougher to deal with next year.  In the meantime it sounds like he will see situational action in 2018 and is the “next man up” if anything goes wrong with Ramsey.

Johnny Pabst is a redshirt freshman that impressed in the spring.  He’s in a tough spot behind the talented and young Ramsey and Penix, but he appears to be a much more capable option than, say, Chris Covington if duty calls.

Finally, there’s Reese Taylor.  Hey, didn’t we just write about him in our defensive backs preview yesterday?  Yes we did, but that just speaks to his versatility.  Now back with the quarterbacks, we don’t see Taylor rotting on the sideline with a hat on toting a clipboard.  He’s too talented and well liked.  There may be packages as the quarterback, trick plays, and perhaps ultimately a Shane Wynn type future in the making.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Peyton Ramsey gives his first interview as the 2018 starting quarterback.

THE OUTLOOK

As we wrote last week, Peyton Ramsey has given IU fans every reason to be optimistic.  A year more experienced with a stronger arm — this is a big year for the Ohio native.  He has the weapons on the outside and especially in the slot to have a big season.

Additionally, a deep and experienced offensive line should give Ramsey plenty of time and help to establish a running game to keep defenses honest.

If IU can somehow hang on to both Ramsey and Penix throughout their eligibility, they appear to be set at the position for the forseeable future.



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