After its quarterback room was depleted with the unexpected departure of Florida Mr. Football winner Nick Tronti, Indiana was yet again in the market for a quarterback this season. Since August of 2017, IU had Tronti, Arizona grad transfer Brandon Dawkins, and current Fordham quarterback Austin King depart Bloomington early.
With only two quarterbacks on scholarship in Peyton Ramsey and Michael Penix Jr., the Hoosiers had recently been tapping into the high school market, hosting 6-foot-4 3-star dual-threat quarterback David Baldwin-Griffin on an official visit in late November.
Indiana decided to go in a different direction. The Hoosiers announced Monday morning that Utah quarterback Jack Tuttle will transfer to Indiana. Tuttle redshirted as a freshman this season for the Utes and will join the Hoosiers this spring. He is a 6-foot-4, former 4-star quarterback that received offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Southern Cal, etc. — and a recruit that Alabama and others unsuccessfully tried to flip from Utah. He was ranked the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in his class by Rivals, and was considered San Diego’s most outstanding high school player by multiple awards. Tuttle is known for both superb accuracy and strong throwing power from the pocket.
“Jack Tuttle is a tremendous addition to our program and we are happy to welcome him to IU,” Tom Allen said in a release. “He is extremely talented and brings a huge skillset to our quarterback room. We look forward to his arrival on campus next semester and his development as a Hoosier.”
Tuttle led Mission Hills High School (Calif.) to a 12-1 record. He completed 205-of-295 (69.5 percent) for 3,171 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and rushed for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his final campaign. At Utah, Tuttle enrolled early in January but announced his decision to seek a transfer in January, after losing the backup competition in Salt Lake City, according to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune. He was behind junior starter Tyler Huntley and redshirt freshman Jason Shelley on the depth chart, while being the only freshman elected to Utah’s leadership council.
He will join the IU program with four years of eligibility, essentially the equivalent of a high school recruit but with a season practicing in a Power Five program. Tuttle is originally from the Southern California area but has connections to the state of Indiana. He was born in Indianapolis, and his father was a walk-on kicker at IU from 1986-89 while his mother is a graduate of Indiana State.
It is unclear whether Tuttle will be eligible for the 2019 season, per Monday’s release and a program spokesperson. More information pertaining to his eligibility could come during Allen’s National Signing Day presser on Wednesday, or during the spring semester once Tuttle is officially enrolled. It is rare that college football transfers are ruled immediately eligible, however Tuttle could benefit by being a mid-year transfer at his new institution, without any game experience.
Essentially, the Hoosiers are back to last offseason when it comes to quarterback. Ramsey will enter 2019 as a redshirt junior and the incumbent. Penix will be a redshirt freshman and continuing his recovery from an ACL tear suffered against Penn State — following three brief appearances where the former 4-star recruit showed off his explosive arm and dangerous legs. Allen has stated earlier that he hopes Penix will be able to throw during spring practice, with full inclusion slated for June summer practices. And then there is Tuttle, whose immediate eligibility would further complicate the competition. Regardless, his presence in the program alone places questions and speculation on the futures of IU’s other two quarterbacks. Allen is a proponent of using competition to breed success, but only one quarterback can be the starter — and all three will enter 2019 (or 2020, for Tuttle) expecting to play. Although not official, Reese Taylor is expected to move back to either cornerback, receiver, or both, next season after becoming IU’s backup once Dawkins departed and Penix was injured.
It is a good problem to have, and a problem that Indiana desperately wanted after injury depletion forced Zander Diamont into action during 2014-16. Tuttle is the highest-rated quarterback in IU history since Rivals and 247Sports started rating prospects. There is now immediate and future depth at the quarterback position, but an added complexity as well.