IU football loses two defensive linemen to transfer portal this week

Indiana has suffered a pair of losses in the defensive trenches, an area of the roster where the Hoosiers were already a bit shorthanded.

Defensive tackle Damarjhe Lewis and end Jeramy Passmore both entered the NCAA’s transfer portal this week.  Although they are eligible to return to IU from the portal, neither player is listed on the program’s roster on iuhoosiers.com.

The 6-foot-3 and 301 pound Lewis was one of the higher ranked players in Indiana’s 2020 class.  The 3-star recruit came in at No. 682 overall in the 247Sports Composite, and the No. 57 defensive tackle.  The Griffin, Georgia product was 2019 3-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year in Georgia.

“I’d like to thank Indiana University for the great opportunity and great time they have given me,” Lewis posted to his Twitter page. “But I’ve decided to enter my name in the transfer portal. I am excited to explore new opportunities.”

Lewis enrolled in spring classes in 2020 and participated in practice, and he was someone who head coach Tom Allen cited on multiple occasions as standing out among the younger players.  Lewis did not see any game action in 2020.  He was the scout team player of the week against Rutgers.

The 6-foot-3 and 263 pound Passmore played in the first three games of the 2020 season.  The Miami, Fla. based defensive end made his collegiate debut in the season-opening win over No. 8 Penn State.  He was an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Passmore redshirted the 2019 season. He was named the scout team player of the week against Ball State.  A former 3-star recruit in the class of 2019, he was ranked No. 940 overall and the No. 63 strong-side defensive end nationally by the 247Sports Composite.

Tom Allen indicated recently that the might program might turn to the transfer portal for late additions to the 2021 roster.

“Oh, I think for sure that will definitely be something we’re going to be aggressively looking at,” Allen said last week about recruiting players in the transfer portal.

Allen said defensive line was a priority group even before this week’s news.  The Hoosiers had already lost four members of the unit from the 2020 roster:  Jerome Johnson (NFL Draft), Jovan Swann (NFL Draft), Tramar Reece (transfer), and Jalen Mayala (transfer).

The exits by Lewis and Passmore will likely lead to the relatively thin defensive line becoming an even greater point of emphasis.

“Always looking for guys there (on the defensive line) that can maybe give you something more than what you have in terms of skillset-wise at certain spots there,” Allen said.

Here are Indiana’s veteran scholarship players remaining on the defensive line:

  • Ryder Anderson (senior),
  • Demarcus Elliott (junior),
  • James Head (junior),
  • Jonathan King (redshirt sophomore),
  • Sio Nofoagatoto’a (sophomore),
  • Shamar Jones, (redshirt sophomore),
  • Gavin McCabe (redshirt sophomore),
  • Beau Robbins (redshirt freshman),
  • C.J. Person (redshirt freshman),
  • Antoine Whitner (redshirt freshman),
  • Caleb Murphy (freshman).

The program now lists additional returners Michael Ziemba and Alfred Bryant as outside linebackers.  The pair will play a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end position known as the “Bull” in Allen’s 4-2-5 scheme.

Class of 2021 defensive end Cooper Jones is a top-500 recruit who could also crack the rotation as an underclassman.

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