Zander Diamont stayed.
Bucking the trend of quarterbacks transferring after not becoming the starter, the junior from California chose to remain a Hoosier.
Currently in the SEC, rosters are littered with starting quarterbacks who transferred to earn the starting job. Notable transfers are Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight coming from Oklahoma, Florida’s Luke Del Rio coming from Alabama and Oregon State, and Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly coming from Clemson and junior college. We even saw Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett leave in the middle of the season after Jalen Hurts established himself as the starter at the potion.
However, Diamont didn’t leave for a guaranteed starting position or greener pastures at another program.
He stuck to his guns and battled with junior Richard Lagow. That’s a testament to the type of player Diamont is.
“My dad always raised me to finish what I start. Leaving wasn’t really an option,” Diamont said. “I love these dudes, I wasn’t going to walk out on the team. I knew what kind of role I could have whether I was on the field or not.”
After Lagow was named the starter, Diamont didn’t pout and decide to transfer. Instead, he continued to compete and remained a valuable asset for the Hoosiers. In the win against Maryland, he played a pivotal role in sparking the run game and finished with 133 total yards of offense.
IU Coach Kevin Wilson praised Diamont for sticking around and continuing to be a reliable asset.
“I’m very proud of a guy that’s competing hard to be the quarterback but can’t be that comes in and plays that way and accepts roles,” Wilson said. “Has been a great practice player. That’s unusual. Because you’re in a day and age where every quarterback wants to tap out and transfer, versus why don’t you just come to practice and work hard and get better. Stop worrying about depth chart and who you’re recruiting. Why don’t you just work on your craft every day? That’s a credit to him.”
Diamont was never going to be the starter at IU this season. Although the fan-favorite is an elusive runner, he can’t throw the ball like Lagow.
What Diamont can do is still help the team win, both in practice and in games. His game-time opportunities should be limited to specific situations where he can succeed, and defenses are going to be able to adjust to Diamont and freshman running back Tyler Natee in the backfield together, but Diamont can still help this offense.
After his first appearance against Nebraska, Diamont likened himself to controlled chaos, and that is exactly what the Hoosiers need from him. With the offense struggling to score after crossing the 40-yard line, he came in and gave the offense a spark.
The first play Natee and Diamont were in together, Maryland burned a timeout because it was perplexed.
The new package should be deployed judiciously, so teams are still caught off guard by it. There’s enough talent on this offense to be very successful and enough elements to throw caution to the wind when it comes to creativity.
Lagow’s the constant in the offense. Diamont can be the perfect variable.