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Indiana football 2023 position preview: Quarterbacks

Breaking down the Hoosiers playing the most critical position in sports.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 15 Indiana Scrimmage Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When Indiana football’s season opens its 2023 season on Sept. 2 against Ohio State, it’ll do so with a third different starting quarterback in as many seasons.

Indiana looked to the transfer portal last offseason to replace departing star Michael Penix Jr. and found competition for Jack Tuttle in Connor Bazelak, who held the job until his benching in favor of Dexter Williams II.

Now? Tuttle is a backup at Michigan, Bazelak has transferred to Bowling Green and Williams II suffered a non-contact knee injury against Purdue that will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future. So, back to the transfer market.

Indiana landed Tayven Jackson, a former Tennessee quarterback and younger brother of men’s basketball legend Trayce Jackson-Davis, from the portal this past offseason. He’s competing with Brendan Sorsby, who saw extremely limited naps last year as a true freshman.

That’s the backstory, let’s get into it.

Indiana football quarterbacks

  • R-Jr Dexter Williams II (injured)
  • Jr Blaze McKibbin (walk-on)
  • R-Fr Tayven Jackson
  • R-Fr Brendan Sorsby
  • Fr Broc Lowry

Of Indiana’s four quarterbacks available to take snaps against Ohio State, none have ever logged a start at the FBS level. The Hoosiers are placing a significant bet on whoever ends up starting to pick things up quickly.

It’s a two-man race between Jackson and Sorsby at the moment. Jackson started at in-state powerhouse Center Grove as a four-star recruit in the class of 2022 rated as the No. 12 quarterback nationally per 247Sports.

His offers out of high school included Indiana, Florida, Auburn, Michigan, Oregon and Texas A&M.

He went from an offense built on the run at Center Grove to one that emphasizes the passing game at Tennessee. He’s a high ceiling quarterback with some athleticism, but hasn’t used it all that much.

Sorsby was a three-star prospect out of Lake Dallas High School in Lake Dallas, Texas, in the class of 2022. He was the No. 101 quarterback nationally and the first high schooler to commit under Walt Bell.

His other offers out of high school included Army, Abilene Christian, Navy, Delaware and Fordham.

He’s a dual threat with the ability and willingness to make plays with his legs when called upon. Tom Allen notably wanted to see more plays that made use of a quarterback’s running ability following Williams II’s performance to end 2022.

Allen has gone with high-end traits before, as he did with Michael Penix Jr. over Peyton Ramsey in 2019. It may be worth a bet on the talented Jackson to try to get the most out of an offense that’ll have some question marks with multiple transfers in at a few positions.

If that doesn’t work out, Sorsby will be available.