IU football: Who is quarterback Jack Tuttle? Let’s look at his background and senior season highlights

Indiana fans got their first 2020 look at backup quarterback Jack Tuttle on Saturday.

Tuttle entered the Maryland game in the third quarter, and at this point it will come as a surprise to no one if he is the starter on Saturday against Wisconsin after Michael Penix, Jr. suffered a lower leg injury.

Head coach Tom Allen has a regularly scheduled press conference on Monday at Noon ET where we expect him to provide an update on Penix’s injury.

So who is Jack Tuttle?

Born in Indianapolis, Tuttle is the son of former IU walk-on kicker Jay Tuttle.  He transferred from the University of Utah to Indiana in Dec. 2018.

The 6-foot-4, 215 pound Tuttle is a redshirt sophomore after being granted an eligibility waiver in the spring of 2019.

First of all, let’s be clear — this is no Chris Covington situation.  You might recall the future All-Big Ten and Dallas Cowboys linebacker briefly filled in at quarterback for IU in 2014 when Nate Sudfeld was lost to injury.

The 21 year old Tuttle is a highly skilled and respected quarterback.  But he isn’t proven at the college level.

A four-star prospect by Rivals and 247Sports coming out of high school, Tuttle was ranked the No. 4 pro-style quarterback nationally by Rivals, the No. 5 pro-style quarterback nationally by 247Sports, and the No. 13 player in California by 247Sports.

Based on those ratings, Tuttle is the highest rated quarterback to play at IU since such metrics have been maintained.  His 247Sports page indicates that he had offers from Alabama, USC, Wisconsin, Nebraska, LSU, and many other Power Five programs.

After playing his prep football at Mission Hills High School, the San Marcos, California product did not see any action with the Utes as a true freshman in 2018.

At Mission Hills, Tuttle completed 205-of-295 (69.5 percent) for 3,171 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions as a senior in 2017. He also rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

Tuttle arrived at IU for the spring semester in 2019.  He competed for the starting job in both 2019 and 2020.

The Daily Hoosier watched Tuttle on several occasions at fall camp in 2019.  This is what we wrote about Tuttle’s strengths last summer relative to Penix and Peyton Ramsey:

“If you had to pick one of these guys as having the best shot at playing in the NFL someday — Tuttle looks the part more than the others.

He is the tallest (6-foot-4), he can make all of the throws, and he is more mobile than you might expect.  You can see why he had the highest recruiting rankings of the three coming out of high school.”

While he has a strong arm, Tuttle can’t sling it quite like Penix.  Few can.  And while he can run, he isn’t as fast as Penix.  But Tuttle appears to be more than capable in both categories at the Power Five level.

If Tuttle has any edge on Penix it would be his size, both to see over the line and absorb hits.

The unknown on Tuttle — how quickly can he go he go through his progressions and get the ball out under duress?  That is something where Penix has excelled in 2020, with an offensive line that has struggled at times.

The good news if he is needed on Saturday — Tuttle has now seen action in six games at IU.  In 2019 he made five appearances and completed 6-of-11 passes for 34 yards, and he ran 9 times for 20 yards.  Tuttle went 5-for-5 for 31 yards on Saturday in his first 2020 appearance.

The bad news if he is needed on Saturday — Tuttle hasn’t started since his senior season of high school in 2017.

Here are the highlights from that season.

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