Indiana’s best recruiting class in program history has a glaring omission.
And Tom Allen is hell bent on doubling up to fill the void.
Over the past two weeks IU has seen starting quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. depart via the transfer portal, and class of 2022 quarterback commit Josh Hoover flip to Texas Christian. Those move left the Hoosiers thin at the position both for the short and long term.
While Indiana signed 25 players as part of its No. 20 ranked class on Wednesday in connection with the first day of college football’s early signing period, none of them, whether transfers or high school recruits, were quarterbacks. That could also explain at least in part why 4-star wide receiver Omar Cooper, Jr. had decided to wait until February to sign his national letter of intent.
From now until that traditional February signing period that precedes spring practice, Allen says the program will identify both a transfer and high school quarterback to add to the 2022 roster.
“The bottom line is we plan to sign a transfer quarterback as well as a high school quarterback, that is the plan,” Allen said. “We’ve been working on that, just relentlessly, and that’s a big part of everything we’re doing, even this morning, this afternoon, the rest of the day, into the weekend, next week and the week after that.
“We’ve got a little window of time when you can bring guys back on campus in the early part of January for this very purpose, so we’ll take full advantage of that, there’s a five-day window there where you can bring guys on campus before the semester begins. We’re in the process of lining up those visits at this point. We will sign two quarterbacks before this process is done.”
From the high school ranks one of Indiana’s top class of 2022 targets is Gordo, Alabama 4-star Tanner Bailey. He visited IU last weekend, and the Hoosiers no doubt attempted to convince him to sign early. He is the No. 14 quarterback in the class of 2022 according to the 247Sports Composite. Bailey passed for 6,200 yards and 71 touchdowns over his career while leading the Gordo Greenwave in Alabama.
Some of the other top unsigned 2022 quarterbacks IU could go after would be Zion Turner (3-star, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Davin Wydner (3-star, Cocoa Beach, Fla.)
As far as transfers go, Indiana has offered Incarnate Word’s Cameron Ward. This fall, Ward led all FCS passers with 47 touchdowns to go along with 4,648 yards and a 65% completion rate.
USC’s Kedon Slovis has an IU connection — his father is an alumnus. Slovis was a three-year starter for the Trojans and threw for 7,576 yards and 58 touchdowns with a 68.4% completion rate during his career.
Auburn transfer running back Shaun Shivers has publicly been trying to get former teammate Bo Nix to join him in Bloomington. A five-star quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class, Nix had the best completion percentage of his career in 2021. Nix threw for a career-low 2,294 yards and 11 touchdowns, but completed 61% of his passes. Nix also threw a career-low three interceptions.
Peter Costelli of Utah is another name to keep an eye on. Costelli was a four-star recruit coming out of Mission Viejo High School in California. He was ranked the No. 10 dual threat quarterback in the nation in the 2021 class.
Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada beat Alabama this season and finished the 2021 campaign passing 2,185 yards and 17 touchdowns against 9 interceptions
LSU’s Myles Brennan was expected to start this season for the Tigers before an injury before fall camp sidelined him for the campaign. Brennan played in three games last fall, completing 79 of 131 pass attempts for 1,112 yards and 11 touchdowns.
TUTTLE EXPECTED BACK, NOTHING BUT LOVE FOR PENIX
Whoever Indiana might bring in at quarterback will present competition for veteran Jack Tuttle, who Allen expects to return for the 2022 season.
“I expect Jack to be here,” Allen said. “Yes, I do, and we’ve actually met as recent as yesterday to talk about that, and what the second semester is going to look like.”
Tuttle suffered multiple foot injuries during the 2021 season. For his career at IU he is 95-for-170 passing (55.9 percent) for 819 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions.
From 2018 through 2021, Michael Penix, Jr. was part of the quarterback competition at IU, but that won’t be the case this fall after he entered the portal. Instead, Penix will reunite with new Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer, who was the IU offensive coordinator in 2019. Also joining them in Washington will be Nick Sheridan, who will be DeBoer’s tight ends coach, the same role he held under DeBoer at IU in 2019.
Penix suffered four season-ending injuries at IU, and everyone involved came to the same conclusion — it was time for a reset somewhere else.
“Sometimes you just feel like you just need a fresh start, and we talked about that,” Allen said. “I think that’s a fair assessment. Wish him nothing but great things. He did a great job for us and gave us some really great memories, and I appreciate him, love him, always will, love his family, respect him. Wish him nothing but great things.
“But I think sometimes when you have it happen four years in a row, you just need a new scenery, and I agreed with him, and we talked it through man-to-man, face to face, and that’s what we came to that conclusion together.”
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