The list of potential quarterbacks for the Indiana football team moving into the 2015 season is a long one.
In fact, there could be as many as eight quarterbacks vying for competition when camp begins in the fall.
It’s a much different situation than when the Hoosiers finished the 2014 season with a player who was as far as fifth on the depth chart at this time last year.
Here’s an early quarterback primer moving forward (not necessarily in depth chart order):
1. Nate Sudfeld: The 2014 opening game starter is expected to be back after a shoulder injury cost him the season in the sixth game last year on Oct. 11 at Iowa. In six games, Sudfeld threw for 1,151 yards, completed better than 60 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
2. Chris Covington: Covington was moved to quarterback just before the start of the regular season and eventually was injured, too, about the same time that Sudfeld went down and was lost for the season. It’s unclear if Covington will play quarterback in the fall or be moved back to the defensive side of the ball. IU has actually petitioned the Big Ten to get a medical redshirt for Covington but is unsure if it will be granted because he played after the deadline for medical redshirts.
3. ZANDER DIAMONT: Diamont, who had initially been expected to redshirt the season, came on and started the final six games a year ago as a true freshman. He completed 48.5 percent of his passes for 515 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. He did lead IU to a 23-16 victory over Purdue in the Old Oaken Bucket game in final game of the season.
4. Nate Boudreau: The redshirt junior out of Naperville, Ill. was also injured last season late keeping him from getting on the field. He is expected to be back and getting repetitions in the spring.
5. Danny Cameron: A late summer pickup, Cameron was available throughout the year but never played and picked up a redshirt season.
6. Zeke Walker: A freshman safety from Columbia, S.C., Walker was moved to quarterback when Boudreau was hurt late in the season in an emergency set of circumstances. He will return to defense this season.
7. Austin King: King signed with the Hoosiers Wednesday out of Alpharetta, Ga. And is expected to either be in the mix for some repetitions or be redshirted. That decision will be made several months from now.
8. Donovan Hale: Recruited as an athlete, Hale will begin at the quarterback position in the summer according to Kevin Wilson this week. But he indicated that Hale will be considered for several positions on both sides of the ball because of his athleticism.
ANALYSIS: It will be Sudfeld’s job as well as his team when he returns to full strength. He’s the player that makes this offense go. As a sophomore he threw for more than 2,500 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. At this point he’s getting closer to full strength though he’s not there. This is what Kevin Wilson had to say about Sudfeld on Wednesday. “He's throwing, he's dropping,’’ Wilson said. “He has limitations with certain lifts, things he can do with the left side.’’
Wilson gave the impression that Covington could be returning to defense. “Covington is going to be limited in the spring,’’ Wilson said. “So we're going to keep him at quarterback, he's going to be limited. He's running. He's doing the majority of everything. But they won't be contacted through spring. He can't have contact, which he would need if he's back on defense.’’
As for who will be Sudfeld’s backup, it’s way too early to know for sure. It could be Diamont although Wilson acted as if he would be open to giving Diamont a redshirt this season. It could be Boudreau but it’s not certain if he would be ready for such a challenge. It could be the true freshman King but if he was to play, Wilson said he would not want him to play in mop-up duty. Wilson said a player like Cameron would be more ready for that kind of a role with a full season under his belt now.
The big point with this quarterback class is that there is one clear cut favorite and several other moving parts. But the key thing is that Kevin Wilson and his staff appear to have a lot of flexibility so it would be better equipped to avoid a situation like the one that occurred when Sudfeld was injured last season.