The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 07, 2022 1:00 am

Hoosiers land past SEC Freshman of the Year quarterback

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Indiana football Thursday fulfilled half of a promise coach Tom Allen made on the Dec. 15 national signing day.

“Bottom line is we plan to sign a transfer quarterback as well as a high school quarterback,” Allen said at the time. “That is the plan. I'm working on that just relentlessly, and that's a big part of everything we're doing, and even this morning, this afternoon, rest of the day, into the weekend and the next week and the week after that.”

The Hoosiers got their transfer quarterback Thursday when former Missouri starting signal-caller Connor Bazelak announced he will play for the Hoosiers in 2022. Bazelak has three years of eligibility remaining and visited Bloomington on Wednesday.

The Dayton native became Missouri's starting quarterback early in 2020 as a redshirt freshman. He threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns in a win over LSU on Oct. 10, 2020, and went 6-3 as the starter on his way to co-SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

In 2021, he threw for 2,540 yards and 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions while completing 65% of his passes and leading the Tigers to a 6-5 mark, but Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz opted to start backup Brady Cook in the Armed Forces Bowl instead of Bazelak. 

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound former four-star recruit – Bazelak was the No. 10 quarterback and 210th-ranked player overall in the 2019 recruiting class, per ESPN – enters an Indiana quarterback competition that has no clear favorite going.

Indiana lost injury-plagued three-year starter Michael Penix Jr. via transfer to Washington in December.

Still on the roster are Jack Tuttle, sophomore-to-be Donaven McCulley and 2020 recruit Dexter Williams II, who missed all of 2021 with a torn ACL suffered before the season.

Tuttle and then McCulley replaced Penix after the latter's shoulder injury midway through the 2021 campaign, but Tuttle also got hurt and McCulley seemed to be in over his head despite flashing a big arm and high-level athleticism. 

The Hoosiers had planned to bring in Texas high school quarterback Josh Hoover in the 2022 recruiting class, but he flipped his commitment to TCU shortly before signing day. Indiana is still looking to add a high school quarterback in the class, though most of their other targets have committed or signed elsewhere.

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