Indiana’s depth at the running back position has taken another hit.
At his regular Monday morning press conference, head coach Tom Allen announced that junior David Ellis has had season-ending surgery on his ankle after aggravating a recurring injury against Western Kentucky two weeks ago.
“We tried to rehab him and get him back, but that wasn’t working the right way, so for his long-term prognosis, they did [surgery],” Allen said. “He should have a full recovery and we will get him squared away for his future, because he has a bright one. I truly believe that. He has struggled with some ankle injuries since he has been.”
Ellis, a versatile player from Clinton Township, Mich., has both 28 carries and 28 receptions during his three years at IU. He has also returned 30 kickoffs and added one punt return. He played in all 13 games as a freshman in 2019 and then just five in 2020 and three in 2021.
Indiana also lost veteran running backs Sampson James and Tim Baldwin to the transfer portal over the last two months, leaving starter Stephen Carr as the only scholarship running back on the roster with meaningful college experience. Allen said freshman back David Holloman has been getting reps with the first and second teams during practice. Walk-ons Davion Ervin-Poindexter, Chris Childers and Charlie Spegal should all see expanded roles along with scholarship freshman Trent Howland, whose progression was slowed by surgery during his senior year of high school. Howland is now fully cleared according to Allen.
Allen also commented on Monday regarding the health of quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who suffered an AC separation on his throwing shoulder against Penn State. If Penix cannot play this weekend backup Jack Tuttle would step into the starting role.
“Mike’s rehabbing. Like I said before, it’s week to week,” Allen said. “That hasn’t changed. Jack, as always, will be ready to go.”
Allen said he doesn’t plan any announcements regarding Penix’s availability this week, meaning we won’t know the starter for sure until around kickoff on Saturday.
Indiana (2-3) hosts No. 9/10 Michigan State (6-0) at Noon Eastern on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. The game will be televised on FS1.
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