A few things to know about Indiana's (presumed) new starting QB Jack Tuttle
In all likelihood, Jack Tuttle will get the start at quarterback this week for Indiana. But who is this sophomore transfer quarterback who will be charged with keeping Indiana’s shot at the Big Ten Championship Game and the College Football Playoff alive?
If Tuttle does get the nod from head coach Tom Allen for this Saturday, it will be the first start of his collegiate career. A four-star recruit out Mission Hills High School in California, Tuttle saw limited action last year for Utah (five games where he was a combined 6-of-11 for 34 yards) before transferring to Indiana this past offseason.
Tuttle spelled Michael Penix Jr. on Saturday as the starting quarterback injured his right leg on a third quarter run for what would become a 27-11 Indiana win against Maryland.
His Indiana debut: In coming in for Penix on Saturday, Tuttle was 5-of-5 for 31 yards. He mostly threw underneath stuff and quick hits but he showed accuracy and some nice zip on the ball.
The insertion of Tuttle came at a time when Indiana was going through their worst passing performance of the season. Before his injury, Penix was just 6-of-19 for 84 yards. The offense was struggling.
Following the win over Maryland, Indiana moved up in the AP Top 25 Poll to No. 12. They travel to No. 18 Wisconsin this weekend, making Tuttle’s collegiate debut a challenging one against a very good Badgers secondary.
The expectations are high: It won’t be easy to come in for Penix, who was having a solid season for the Hoosiers.
Saturday’s performance against Maryland by Penix was an outlier during a season where he has performed well and become one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. It will be awfully big shoes for Tuttle to fill.
Indiana were longshots to make the College Football Playoff before Penix’s injury but there will be clear pressure on the sohmore in his first start to keep the 5-1 Hoosiers rolling towards a New Year’s Day bowl game.
He was a national recruit in high school: Despite being billed as a pro-style quarterback coming out of high school, Tuttle has the ability to roll-out and maneuver in the pocket. He isn’t a dual-threat quarterback but he has good footwork and pocket presence as well as some solid mobility.
As a senior, he was ranked the fifth-best quarterback in the nation according to 247Sports.com and is one of the highest ranked recruits to ever commit to Utah (or come to Indiana).
What’s impressive about Tuttle, who was a finalist in high school at the prestigious Elite XI, competition is that he has a quick release and good accuracy. He places the ball in his receiver’s stride in impressive fashion.
His high school coach was surprised: When Tuttle transferred from Utah, Tuttle’s high school coach Chris Hauser was blindsided. He had no idea the transfer was coming.
“It’s just kind of a bummer,” Hauser said at the time. “The kid was so excited about Utah; he didn’t take any other visits. That’s just the nature of the business, I guess.”
He bleeds Hoosiers: His father, Jay, was a walk-on kicker at Indiana from 1986-88. His mother, however, went to Indiana State.
So technically, half of him bleeds Hoosier.