With all the focus having been directed toward Tom Crean and the basketball team, many fans have likely missed an important development with the football team as they near their Spring Game and eventually summer workouts.
The biggest loss for the Hoosiers after last season is Nate Sudfeld, a four-year player at Indiana and, for the last two years, the starting quarterback of Coach Kevin Wilson's high-octane offense (when healthy, at least). It's always hard to replace your starting quarterback, but the Hoosiers are tasked with replacing one of the five greatest quarterbacks in Hoosier football history.
The options to fill the void are vast with a wide-open race. The obvious choice, and the one fans are most familiar with, is Zander Diamont, folk hero for his time as starting quarterback in 2014 where he won the Oaken Bucket. Diamont nearly cemented his legacy in the 2015 season when he stepped under center against Ohio State and nearly led the Hoosiers to a victory.
However, Diamont has been a non-factor during the summer due to an undisclosed injury that required surgery. He elected to have surgery on the injury during the spring as opposed to waiting in hopes of hitting the ground running once recovered for the summer.
Diamont's absence has opened the door for a pair of youngsters to split the first- and second-team reps in the spring practices. JuCo transfer Richard Lagow and redshirt sophomore-to-be Danny Cameron both have seen time with the first team this spring.
Lagow threw for 2,285 yards and 21 touchdowns with 10 interceptions at Cisco College last season and was one of the top junior college prospects
Cameron, meanwhile, saw time in the Hoosiers' loss to Penn State but, for the most part, was a non-factor last season.
The two quarterbacks are both considered pro-style quarterbacks, but physically, are vastly different. Lagow is 6'6", 240 pounds and has the make-up you'd expect of an NFL quarterback. At Cisco, he ran a similar style offense to the Hoosiers and his big arm will be welcomed into the Hoosier offense. Between the competitors, Lagow is the most similar to Sudfeld both physically and stylistically.
Cameron, meanwhile, is 6'1" and 208 pounds. The son of former coach Cam Cameron, Danny red-shirted his freshman year (2014) and spent most of last season behind both Diamont and Sudfeld.
Diamont is expected to step in once healthy and toss his hat into the competition. Diamont is the near opposite of Cameron and Lagow, excelling as a runner and struggling as a passer, adding another dynamic to the competition.
Whomever wins the competition will have all the help needed as the Hoosiers bring back the majority of their offensive line that helped the Hoosiers sport a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. One of those backs in Devine Redding will return to the Hoosiers while their young receiving core remains in tact from last year, including Simmie Cobbs and Ricky Jones who had 1035 and 906 yards receiving, respectively, last season.
The Cream and Crimson Game scheduled for April 15 will begin to answer some questions for the Hoosiers as Cameron and Lagow will likely play big roles in the contest. Diamont will not be able to participate in the game as his timeline is uncertain right now.
Regardless of who is named the starter, the expectations will be high for the Hoosiers this season with the talent returning and coming off a bowl game last season where the kick was good.