The Indiana defense suffered a major setback long before the delayed 2020 season got started.
Husky Marcelino Ball has suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season. Head coach Tom Allen broke the news on a video conference with the media on Monday. The injury was non-contact, resulting from planting on the turf according to Allen.
In his fifth year at IU, 2020 was expected to be Ball’s final season with the program. He also suffered a season ending injury three weeks into the 2017 season after making the ESPN and BTN All-Freshman team in 2016.
Under new NCAA eligibility guidelines stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ball is able to return for the 2021 season as a sixth year senior if he so chooses. All fall athletes were granted an additional year of eligibility.
Former safety Bryant Fitzgerald is expected to take over as the first team husky according to Allen. Fitzgerald, a redshirt junior, made the move from safety to husky during spring practice.
Allen spoke about the team’s remaining depth chart at the position behind Fitzgerald.
“D.K. Bonhomme is also a young man that has been a stinger linebacker for us, so he will also be getting a lot of reps [at husky] for us right now. It is a very similar position technically with how we play our defense, so he has been moved to that position. We also have Jamar Johnson, who played there last year as the backup to Marcelino. Jamar is an extremely talented football player and has the ability to play there. Noah Pierre has the skillset to play there and we have some other young guys that can play there. We feel like we have the depth to be able to rotate a couple of different guys, but right now it is going to be Bryant Fitzgerald as the number one guy at that spot and training D.K. Bonhomme to be his backup.”
The 6-foot and 220 pound Ball totaled 47 tackles, including 29 solo, two sacks, and three for loss in 2019. He registered a team-high six quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. Ball finished 2019 fourth on the team in stops and solo tackles.
Ball graduated with a liberal studies degree in May 2020.
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