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Richard Lagow, Zander Diamont lead the race to replace Nate Sudfeld

Our TCQ roster preview takes a look at the most talked about camp battle, as Kevin Wilson searches for the answer to replace one of the program’s most prolific passers.

Indiana v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Nate Sudfeld spent four years at Indiana and racked up nearly 8,000 yards through the air and 69 (nice) total touchdowns. Despite spending the first two years in a rotation with other quarterbacks and seeing his junior campaign cut short due to a shoulder injury, Sudfeld threw for more yards and more touchdowns than anyone else in program history and his departure creates the most dynamic variable when one tries to figure out if the Hoosiers can earn a second consecutive bowl berth.

Indiana currently has five quarterbacks on the roster now that Donovan Hale has officially moved to wide receiver. A few days ago, Kevin Wilson alluded that JUCO-transfer Richard Lagow was leading the pack, so we’ll start with him and head down the line:

Richard Lagow

A couple things about Richard real quick: first of all, can we call him Dicky Lagow? It’s something to consider. Dicky Lagow is a great name, the kind that appears in record books. Most likely for throwing seven touchdowns in a season back in 1939 or whatever a record amount of touchdowns was back when you could probably stab a guy before he caught the ball.

Second of all, he wears #21, which I’m all for but you have to be able to back it up. You can’t throw on a non-traditional number just to throw more picks than touchdowns en route to a 5-7 record, know what I’m saying? People see a quarterback in something other than #1 - #19 there are going to be expectations, I hope Dicky Lagow is ready to meet them.

Lagow is a JUCO-transfer, which is a far cry from Big Ten football but certainly more competitive than the high school defenses the rest of these guys (excluding Zander Diamont) played against in their last competitive games. He spent a redshirt year at Oklahoma State and had some additional high major interest coming out of JUCO. It’s easy to see why, he’s got a big arm with a big Sudfeld-esque frame (6’6", 240) and was ESPN’s top-ranked JUCO pocket passer.

Tapping Lagow to replace Nate Sudfeld as the starter would be an attempt at continuity for an offense that largely retains its weapons and guts from last season. Lagow would be throwing to Simmie Cobbs and Ricky Jones, handing off to Devine Redding, while four redshirt seniors and a sophomore pave the way on the line. Whether Lagow is better, worse, or on-par with Sudfeld remains to be seen, but he will attempt to do so in much the same way as his predecessor. He’ll stand tall in the pocket and make all the throws up and down the route tree. Any rushing yardage is likely to be mostly by accident, an extremely slow accident.

Zander Diamont

Indiana Football’s folk hero missed spring ball with an injury but thrust himself back into the quarterback competition this fall. He’s the only one in the pack that can say he’s taken on Big Ten defenses. The results might not have always been beautiful, but that experience is invaluable and combined with his physical gifts (namely his speed and athleticism) he has something to offer this team.

Last year, after Diamont straight-up outran a defense brimming with future NFL talent, I floated the idea of bringing Diamont onto the field in certain situations as a gadget player. His do-it-all second half audition against Ohio State showed glimpses of how he could be used as a changeup to the Hoosiers’ standard spread offense. Zander showed a lot of savvy with his feet in the last two years, and Kevin Wilson isn’t likely to ignore a useful offensive weapon at his disposal. While he may never fit the mold of a traditional drop-back passer, Zander has the ability to contribute in some unique ways.

Granted, Indiana attempted to redshirt Diamont last season, and they could very well try and do that this year, giving him another chance to bulk up while preserving a precious year of eligibility. But if I had to guess, we’re going to see Zander out there this year, in one way or another. Kevin Wilson has never shied away from using multiple quarterbacks in an attempt to find what works.

Austin King

The redshirt freshman out of Georgia came to IU as the 29th-ranked QB in his class and managed to wedge himself into the battle to start for the Hoosiers while Zander Diamont missed time in the Spring. The 6’2", 203 lb signal-caller was originally committed to North Carolina State before flipping his commitment to Indiana. Despite all the injuries to quarterbacks for the second year in a row, the coaching staff held firm in not burning the talented freshman’s redshirt, preserving all of his eligibility and perhaps signaling that the staff is counting on King to step in as the starter later on in his career.

That said, if you subscribe to the theory that Lagow will start and Zander transforms into a QB/H-back hybrid gadget player (and I very much do), King could find himself battling to become the team’s true backup should Lagow go down with injury. That may not seem like much, but given the fact that Indiana has seen a significant quarterback injury in nearly every season of Kevin Wilson’s tenure, the backup is pretty much guaranteed to be thrust into an incredibly important situation, perform admirably, have me guzzling a gallon of bourbon, and then falling just short of victory.

King represents a compromise between statue-esque pocket passers like Lagow or Sudfeld and dynamic, fleet-footed jitterbugs like Diamont. He can hang in the pocket and make throws but can also break the pocket with enough athleticism to buy himself time or head for the sticks himself. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time until he seizes the starting job, but it probably won’t be this year without some sort of injury.

Danny Cameron

As the prophecy foretold all those years ago, the offspring of Cam Cameron has returned to Bloomington and has spent two seasons with the program. He appeared in a game last season after Zander Diamont went down, who was already replacing Nate Sudfeld. Cameron didn’t play all that well, but for a redshirt freshman unexpectedly getting his first snaps on the road in Happy Valley, it wasn’t horrible.

Kevin Wilson has had good things to say about Cameron, but almost all of them in the context of being a backup. As I alluded to above, it would seem that Cameron is more likely to be in a battle with Austin King to back-up Lagow / Zander than he is to start for the Hoosiers.

Peyton Ramsey

Based on his name alone, Peyton Ramsey probably picked the Hoosiers over most of the SEC schools and Clemson. If you told me he transferred here from Alabama, I would believe it. That’s a Sugar Bowl-winning name. His winning ways will probably wait for at least a year, as the three-star recruit out of Ohio is likely to redshirt his first year in the program.

Ramsey hails from Cincinnati where he has yet to be implicated in the murder of Harambe, the beautiful ape.