Who will be the stars of the 2022 IU football team?
Believe it or not, the Hoosiers kick off the season three months from today under the lights against Illinois, and that means we have unofficially started preseason awards and recognition season.
Indiana will be on a mission to prove their 2-10 2021 season was the fluke rather than the 2019 and 2020 campaigns that saw the Hoosiers go a combined 14-7.
According to Athlon Sports, six Hoosiers will headline that effort to put IU back in contention for a bowl game. Half of them dealt with injuries in 2021 that caused them to miss multiple games, highlighting one of the major reasons why things went horribly wrong.
Head coach Tom Allen will return to calling the defense on game day, and he is looking forward to working with several veteran players.
“Defensively we have some of our best players back,” Allen said last week. “I’m excited about that. Unfortunately several of them got hurt last year.”
Corner Tiawan Mullen was first team All-American according to some outlets following the 2020 season, but he played just seven games with only four starts and was never himself after suffering a lower leg injury early in 2021. Athlon placed Mullen on their second team defense.
Safety Devon Matthews was named the team’s defensive player of the year in 2021 but he missed three contests with a couple different injuries early and late in the season. Overall he has played in 40 games and has 152 career tackles and three interceptions. Athlon says Matthews is a third-team safety.
Linebacker Cam Jones will be a third-year starter at linebacker. He totaled 64 tackles, 43 solo, one sack, two for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two pass breakups in 11 games last season. Athlon placed Jones on its fourth team.
Wide receiver D.J. Matthews made some explosive plays early in the 2021 campaign but suffered a season-ending knee injury in week four at Western Kentucky. He had the second most yards receiving by a wideout and was sixth in yards from scrimmage in 2021 despite playing three and a half games. Matthews is also a high-level punt returner, and Athlon placed him on the fourth team for that role.
Offensive lineman Matthew Bedford will headline an offensive line that needs to take a major step forward in 2022 after a very disappointing season. “Matthew Bedford had a tremendous spring. I challenged him to step up and become the leader I believe he can be,” Allen said last week. Bedford is fourth team at Athlon.
Kicker Charles Campbell rounds out the Athlon preseason recognition on the fourth team. He is 25-of-31 (80.6 percent) on field goals and 46-of-46 in extra points in his career. He sits 10th on the program’s career field goals list. Campbell is 4-of-5 from 50-plus yards and his four 50-yarders are second only to Pete Stoyanovich’s six from 1985-88 in Hoosier lore.
With six players selected, Indiana is last in the Big Ten with two other teams (Rutgers and Northwestern). Michigan (17) and Ohio State (16) led the way.
For a complete position-by-position look at who is coming and going for IU football in 2022, GO HERE.
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