As Swick told you last night, Tommy Stevens was adjudged by James Franklin as to have a suitable girlfriend for the Penn State program and flipped his commitment from the Hoosiers to Happy Valley. That leaves the Kevin Wilson's 2015 class without a quarterback late in the recruiting season. And with the top two quarterbacks* on the roster coming off season-ending surgery, a man known for high-powered offenses and quarterback development might be facing his toughest task yet in finding a quarterback of the future.
THE CURRENT ROSTER
It's no secret that Wilson & Co. were likely leaning on Stevens to be Indiana's quarterback on the future. With Sudfeld likely returning for one more season, the Decatur Central product could redshirt during the veteran's final season and then still have four full seasons to lead the Hoosier offense.
|Zander Diamont||Freshman||RS Soph||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Nate Boudreau*||RS Soph||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Danny Cameron||RS Freshman||RS Soph||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Max Matthews*||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Bryce Smith*||RS Freshman||RS Soph||RS Junior||RS Senior|
*- denotes walk-on, italics denote season-ending surgery in 2014
There's a chance Covington can land a medical hardship waiver based on the low number of snaps he saw this season, but it's been questioned -- and rightfully so -- if Indiana is best served with Covington at quarterback. He was recruited by under the ATHLETE designation, and many that have seen him play feel he's got a better chance to help Indiana at linebacker.
With Boudreau limited, Wilson noted in this week's presser that freshman DB Zeke Walker has spent time since the second bye week working with the quarterbacks. He still hasn't seen any time on the field this season and is still expected to redshirt -- but that should give you some indication of Wilson's thoughts on ever letting Matthews or Smith take a single snap. We'll leave Walker of this chart under the presumption that this is only a temporary switch.
So, yeah. Sudfeld's injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, shouldn't be a long term issue, and he'll start in 2015. But let's assume for the sake of discussion Covington is moved back to linebacker following the season. That leaves Indiana only with Diamont and Cameron as currently-on-scholarship options for 2016.
THE 'CROOTIN PIPELINE: 2015 QUARTERBACKS
This late in the game, Wilson's options to out-and-out replace Stevens in the 2015 class are slim-to-none.
The only committed option that could remotely be a possibility of taking snaps for the Hoosiers is Decatur, GA ATH Andre Brown, who's rated between two and three stars depending on where you look. Indiana has mainly looked at Brown as a cornerback/safety, but the kid has been a prolific high-school quarterback in Georgia -- which isn't something to shake a stick at. His highlights (which, albeit, are highlights for a reason) are below. He's small, but throws it decently well. Poor man's Nick Marshall is probably your best-case scenario here.
Other than Brown, options are slim from the high school ranks for 2015 quarterbacks. Per 247Sports, there's not a single quarterback prospect that the site has bothered to rate that is still considering Indiana or that Indiana has targeted. Indiana offered nine quarterbacks in the 2015 class. Those quarterbacks committed to Arizona State, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Wisconsin, and Penn State respectively.
Good news: Indiana isn't recruiting against MAC schools anymore!
Bad news: It's not going well.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR INDIANA LONG-TERM?
Indiana will likely be an attractive destination for a higher-profile quarterback looking for reps this offseason. They'll have the opportunity to come in and sit for a season under Sudfeld during a transfer year, learn the system, and then compete for the starting job in 2016 against Diamont and Cameron -- who are unproven commodities at best. Any others competing for that job would be playing outside the position they were recruited to Indiana to play (Covington, Walker, Brown) and things usually aren't going well as planned when that's happening.
Wilson will also have to land a quarterback with long-term starting potential in the 2016 class. That means it's probably time for the head coach to go all in with Kevin Johns on Avon junior and four-star prospect Brandon Peters. Peters has the size and arm-strength and is cut in the mold of Wilson success story Sam Bradford and would likely be a long term solution as Sudfeld's successor. He's coming off a visit to Northwestern and recently picked up offers from Iowa and Virginia Tech, but the opportunity for Peters to compete for a starting job as a true freshman should be a selling-point for his home-state school.