(Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

Indiana Football: Jack Tuttle Stepping Into QB Competition More Intriguing Than Even 2018

When he was pressed on what he likes to do in his free time now that he has moved to Indiana, new Hoosier football quarterback and San Diego native Jack Tuttle said, “Well, there’s no beach here.”

Man, he isn’t kidding.

Apparently Lake Monroe in January isn’t as nice as the beaches in southern California.  Who knew?

But while nothing can ever quite prepare you for the bitter Indiana winter cold weather, Tuttle at least knew what he was getting into in that regard.  Calling him a California “native” isn’t entirely accurate.  He was born in the Hoosier state.  So were his parents.  His father Jay was a former walk-on kicker for IU that made two extra points during the 1986 season under then head coach Bill Mallory.

Tuttle can acclimate to these January cold temperatures.  But that is just the first hurdle.

It will be no day at the beach for Tuttle to see the field in 2019.  First, he will have to get through the NCAA, which has to determine whether he will even be eligible to play under their transfer rules.  A reliable source tells us that IU is confident in the outcome, but we probably won’t know for sure until the spring.

Assuming he gets past the NCAA, then the fun really begins.

Jack Tuttle Indiana
Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune

The 2018 Indiana quarterback competition was one for the ages.  The assumed winner Brandon Dawkins, finished in third and left the program.  Yes, we’ve seen this California kid riding into Bloomington to save IU football story before.  It didn’t end well.

Michael Penix, at the time a true freshman quarterback that most observers thought might win based on the talent exhibited at fall camp, finished second.

That left Peyton Ramsey, who, much like the season before when he took over the starting job as freshman, surprised almost everyone and won the job again.

Believe it or not, this 2019 competition should be even better.  We know better by now than to doubt Ramsey.  Penix, who has the added challenge of recovering from a torn ACL, clearly has the talent to start in a power five conference.  And then there is Tuttle, who appears to have the best quarterback skills of any of them.

A former four-star recruit, Tuttle was one of the top ten rated quarterbacks in the country in the class of 2017.  His offers included Alabama, LSU, Wisconsin and Nebraska.  Yep, the Hoosiers stole one here.

This is how ESPN described the 6-foot-4 Tuttle coming out of high school:

“STRENGTHS: Tall kid with an excellent frame. Very decisive, accurate passer. Patient and disciplined thrower who consistently finds the open man. Can fit the ball into tight windows at short and intermediate levels. Deceptively athletic kid who can extend plays if he has to. … AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will need to add bulk and functional strength. Possesses a long, deliberate delivery. Tends to force throws at times. Needs to get his entire body into the throw to maximize arm. … BOTTOM LINE: Tuttle is a solid quarterback prospect with nice upside. He will need to get stronger and polish up his throwing mechanics, but he’s a guy with a lot of physical tools to develop.”

If you feel like you are reading about Nate Sudfeld, another California kid turned Hoosier, you wouldn’t be that far off.  That kind of potential exists here.  And much like Sudfeld who had to earn the job over Tre Roberson, Tuttle will have to beat two highly talented competitors to ever see the field.

One advantage that Tuttle has right now is that field, as in the playing field, which unlike most transfer situations, is level for everyone.  The Hoosiers still do not have an offensive coordinator, which allows the Utah transfer to have the exact same understanding of the IU offense as Ramsey and Penix — none.

These three talented quarterbacks would seemingly be an attractive draw for any potential offensive coordinator, but that process continues on into its third week.

What may not continue on is all three quarterbacks at Indiana.  With Ramsey having two years of eligibility left, and Tuttle and Penix each with four, it would be difficult to imagine all three deciding to stick around.  Much like we saw with Roberson, talented young athletes tend to not want to sit around and watch

No, it will certainly be no day at the beach trying to become the starting quarterback for this upcoming season.  And the prize for whoever wins the job?  The 2019 IU schedule includes road trips to Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State and Penn State.  No beaches there either.

Throw in home tilts with Ohio State and Michigan, and its clear that whoever wins the job will have a major challenge in front of them.  That’s just how it is at Indiana, playing in the Big Ten East.

But by even just winning the starting role, whoever ends up with the job will surely be battle tested.

Just don’t expect to see any waves, sand or umbrellas anywhere along the way.  For the fans to watch and for us to cover it will surely be entertaining.

But for the quarterbacks, it will be no day at the beach.

Additional coverage:

  • See video of Tuttle as a senior in high school here.
  • See video of Tuttle meeting with the IU media here.

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