Updated April 7, 2018
It may seem like Indiana’s 2017 season just ended in West Lafayette, but that was more than three months ago and March is here. Spring football practice begins for Indiana on Saturday, March 2.
Today we look at who is gone, who is coming back, and who is new on the the 2018 roster. A number of 2018 recruits and transfers have already enrolled and will be at spring practice. We took a look at those January enrollees a few weeks ago.
Perhaps the biggest open question for 2018 was whether wide receiver Simmie Cobbs would return. That question has been answered as the Hoosiers will unfortunately lose Cobbs to the NFL. Cobbs is at the NFL combine this weekend along with Rashard Fant, Chris Covington, Tegray Scales and Ian Thomas.
Despite the loss of Cobbs, the returning offense should be a source of optimism for IU fans, with a wealth of talent returning at both the skill positions and the offensive line.
It is another story on the other side of the ball, as many of the core players from the defense are gone, including likely NFL draft pick Scales. Coach Tom Allen will have several players returning that have experience in his system, but he’ll need to recreate some of his 2016 magic in order to get this unit playing at a high level.
On the recruiting front, Indiana has secured one of its better classes in years. Indiana’s 2018 class is ranked 48th nationally. You can find links with more details on Indiana’s 2018 class and the complete national rankings here.
PREVIEWING THE 2018 ROSTER
QUARTERBACKS: Should be a position of strength for many years to come with Ramsey likely leading the way.
Leaving: Richard Lagow (Graduation).
Key Returning: Peyton Ramsey, Nick Tronti. Newcomers Michael Penix and Reese Taylor could be difficult to keep off the field.
RUNNING BACKS: Perhaps the deepest and most talented position on the team in 2018, but also hit by transfers.
Leaving: Tyler Natee (Transfer), Alex Rodriguez (Transfer), and Devonte Williams (Transfer)
Key Returning: Morgan Ellison, Cole Gest, Mike Majette, Ricky Brookins. 2018 recruit Ronnie Walker is top 20 at his position nationally.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Big losses in Simmie Cobbs and Taysir Mack. Nevertheless IU has a lot of returning talent.
Leaving: Simmie Cobbs (NFL), Taysir Mack (Transfer) and Phil Benker (Transfer)
Key Returning: Nick Westbrook, Whop Philyor, Luke Timian, J-Shun Harris, Donovan Hale
TIGHT ENDS: Ian Thomas is a big loss. Watercutter brings experience and the Hoosiers have young depth.
Leaving: Ian Thomas (Graduation)
Key returning: Ryan Watercutter, Austin Dorris, Peyton Hendershot, Shaun Bonner
OFFENSIVE LINE: Yet another position on offense where virtually everyone is returning.
Leaving: Danny Friend (Graduation)
Key returning: Coy Cronk, Wes Martin, Hunter Littlejohn, Simon Stepaniak, Brandon Knight, Grayson Stover, Harry Crider, Mackenzie Nworah, Delroy Baker
New addition: Nick Linder (transfer from Miami, Florida)
DEFENSIVE LINE: The core of the defensive line is graduating. Indiana will have to replace a lot of talent but has some experience returning.
Leaving: Greg Gooch, Nate Hoff, Robert McCray (all Graduation); Juan Harris (transfer)
Key Returning: Jacob Robinson, Michael Barwick, Nile Sykes, Ja’Merez Bown, Allen Stallings, Jerome Johnson, LeShaun Minor, Brandon Wilson
LINEBACKERS: 2 Big losses here including likely NFL draft pick Tegray Scales.
Leaving: Tegray Scales, Chris Covington (both Graduation); Dameon Willis (opted not to play final year)
Key Returning: Mike McGinnis, Reakwon Jones, Kiante Walton
DEFENSIVE BACKS/HUSKY: Big losses but also some key returning players.
Leaving: Rashard Fant, Tony Fields, Chase Dutra (all Graduation), Zeke Walker (Transfer), Tyler Green (Transfer)
Key Returning: Marcelino Ball, Jonathan Crawford, A’Shon Riggins, Andre Brown, Isaac James, Khalil Bryant, Raheem Layne, Ben Bach, Jonah Morris.
KICKER: Griffin Oakes had an exceptional senior year and will be difficult to replace.
Leaving: Griffin Oakes (Graduation)
Key Returning: Competition between Logan Justus, Jared Smolar, and incoming freshman Charles Campbell.
PUNTER: Haydon Whitehead had a solid season and seems like the clear starter for 2018.
Key Returning: Haydon Whitehead.
NOTES: The annual Cream and Crimson game is on April 14 at noon. You can review the 2018 schedule here.
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