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Indiana football quarterback named breakout candidate for Hoosiers in 2023



Indiana football quarterback Tayven Jackson (2) needs to be a breakout performer for the Hoosiers in 2023. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Quarterback play has been the biggest question mark surrounding the Indiana football program for much of the past two years. In 2023, it’s a position that needs to raise its level of play.

It has been two straight years of no postseason play for Indiana. There is no question the Hoosiers need to hit on this quarterback decision.

Right now, it seems to be a competition between returning redshirt freshman Brendan Sorsby and transfer redshirt freshman Tayven Jackson. Jackson, an Indiana native, comes from Tennessee. He arrives in Bloomington as a high four-star prospect and someone who is expected to take the Indiana football QB room.

Jackson had some good moments in spring practice, but not enough to separate him as the clear starter.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen recruited Jackson prior to his commitment to Tennessee. Once he entered the portal this offseason, it was a clear match.

The Indiana football program is heading towards a true dual-threat QB and that’s what Jackson is.

Jackson played in just three games a season ago. He was 3-of-4 or 37 yards and had four carries for 10 yards and a touchdown.

“What we liked about him was his athleticism,” Allen said of Jackson this spring. “He’s a long athlete, multi-sport guy, basketball, track, all three of those, and just felt like that he could create with his legs, with his arm. He’s a tremendous leader.”

Despite not being named the starter, Jackson’s importance to this roster can’t be understated.

According to 247Sports college football writer Raymond Lucas Jr, Jackson could be the breakout player for Indiana.

“Jackson is a former four-star prospect and was the No. 12 quarterback in the Class of 2022, ranking No. 237 overall. He’s in a duel with Brendan Sorsby, who threw six passes last season and had one intercepted. There aren’t any real expectations surrounding Indiana this season, but it could be a team that pulls an upset or two if a foe sleepwalks against it, which would give Jackson his big moment if he’s the one calling the signals.”

As someone who is new to a locker room and system, the next few months are critical for Jackson.

“That is probably a little more challenging because you are new to everything,” Allens added of Jackson. “Obviously, being here in January was huge, and he knew some of the guys already, which helped, I think. At the same time, you have to earn that ability to speak … I think any time you come in new, you have to establish yourself in the weight room, establish yourself by how you are going to work, how are you going to practice, and how you handle when things don’t go your way.”

There’s no doubting Jackson’s talent. Now, it’s about making sure he’s brought along properly throughout the summer.

If he is, Jackson could help the Indiana football program take a step up from its 6-18 record over the past two seasons.

SEE ALSO: Storylines to follow for Indiana football following spring practice

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.