The Daily Hoosier is previewing each position group during the final days leading up to the opening kickoff of the 2019 Indiana University football season on August 31 against Ball State in Indianapolis.
Today we take a look at the cornerbacks.
Much like the safety position, Indiana returns a deep and talented group at cornerback in 2019.
The Hoosiers should be able to rotate in two, perhaps even three deep on the depth chart into games this season at corner.
IU will be able to put three guys out on the edge with at least three years of experience, bolstered by a highly talented supporting cast.
Experience in 2019 should allow an exciting group of underclassmen the opportunity to be ready for big things in the coming years.
WHO IS GONE
A major part of the reason that IU is so deep and the expectations are high for this group is because there were no major losses from the 2018 season. Indiana returns all of its contributors and brings in additional young talent.
THE 2019 ROSTER
WHO IS BACK
Andre Brown, Jr. projects as one of the starters — something he has done in 29 of his 32 career games. Brown registered 29 tackles, including 24 solo, with two for loss and a team-high six pass breakups last year. He is one of the leaders on this team, and Brown is particularly confident about IU’s chances to play 13 games this year:
“If we communicate and play as a team, we will see you in a bowl game this year. Quote Andre Brown on that.”
Raheem Layne gives the Hoosiers a little bit of size on the outside to cover bigger receivers. Layne made seven starts and played in all 12 games at cornerback. He shared fourth on the team with 39 tackles. He could end up starting this year, at least situationally, and he will definitely be part of the rotation.
A’Shon Riggins returns for his final season and should be a valuable veteran contributor in 2019. He started five times and played in 11 games last year while sharing second on the team with three pass breakups
NAMES ON THE RISE / IMPACT NEWCOMERS
Jaylin Williams is the headliner when it comes to names to watch at corner. Could he surpass the upperclassmen and crack the starting lineup? It is possible, but Williams will be a regular in any event. He played in all 12 games as a freshman.
Reese Taylor is back with the defensive backs in 2019. He has dealt with a hand injury at fall camp but should be ready to go for week one. Taylor will also return punts and is more likely to see action there (and perhaps still in the offense) as he continues to learn the corner position.
Don’t be surprised to find true freshman Tiawan Mullen on the field early and often this season. He isn’t big, but Mullen is jet quick and has people talking early on. He has the potential to be a star down the road.
Larry Tracy has a bright future at IU. The highly regarded recruit chose the Hoosiers over the likes of Iowa and others. His action may be limited this year as he waits his turn, but a Tracy/Mullen cornerback duo in a couple years is very intriguing to think about.
Noah Pierre is included here but could end up playing more safety in 2019. He is a guy that figures to have a bigger role as an upperclassman.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Cornerback coach Brandon Shelby discusses his group.
(Video credit – Indiana Sports Beat / Jim Coyle)
Games can be won and lost in the Big Ten with big plays out on the edge, where elite athletes line up one-on-one.
If Indiana truly has turned a corner from a talent perspective, and the much discussed speed and acceleration program truly has provided an advantage — nowhere will that be more evident than at cornerback.
Indiana’s defensive scheme often puts its cornerbacks on an island. On paper, this combination of veterans and intriguing young talent appears ready for the test.
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