Four months after starter Michael Penix Jr. went down with an ACL tear, another Indiana quarterback is dealing with the same injury.
IU coach Tom Allen announced Monday that freshman Dexter Williams recently hurt his knee during a non-contact drill in spring practice and will undergo surgery within the next two weeks. Although Williams was pegged for third-string duties in 2021, this was viewed as a crucial spring for his development — especially given that his first spring with the program last year was erased due to the pandemic. With Penix still recovering from his knee surgery, Williams and Jack Tuttle received the bulk of the snaps over the first few weeks of practice.
Now, Tuttle is Indiana’s only scholarship quarterback available for the final few weeks of spring ball.
“Tuttle has obviously taken a bunch of reps and has done a really good job this spring,” Allen said. “That has to continue. It continues to be a position in which we need to take advantage of all of our guys in the room and be able to put them in a position to keep improving.”
As much as any program, Indiana recognizes the need for depth at the sport’s most important position. Beyond Penix — who’s expected to be back for the start of the season — and Tuttle, IU is hoping that incoming freshman Dexter McCulley will be a quick learner in order to solidify the team’s options behind center this fall. Rivals ranks the Indianapolis product as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 2021 class, and the No. 100 overall prospect in the recruiting cycle.
McCulley, though, won’t be on campus until this summer. That means, over the next few weeks, Tuttle will split reps with walk-ons Will Jontz, Grant Gremel and Zack Merrill — each of them freshmen.
“It definitely increases the need for Donaven McCulley to come in and be ready to go, which I have full confidence that he will,” Allen said. “I am excited for him and his opportunity that this creates. At the same time, we have three walk-ons that are in our program right now that all do a really good job. All three were part of our scrimmage and are good, solid players that have a high care factor. They all got several reps on Saturday, quite a few reps, and did some good things. That is why we go out and recruit a room full of guys that are bought in and doing the little things right.”