Indiana has already landed two players from James Madison via the transfer portal, and that number seems likely to rise after the Dukes play Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl Saturday.
On Wednesday, coach Curt Cignetti said the Hoosiers have signed seven players via the portal who won’t be named until after they participate in bowl games.
So far Indiana has only announced one defensive addition via the portal, but Cignetti hinted the bulk of the unnamed additions will be on the defensive side of the ball.
“I really like what we’ve done defensively up front and at linebacker (in the portal),” Cignetti told IU radio analyst Rhett Lewis. … “There’s only one I can really talk about.”
The one he can talk about is JMU transfer defensive lineman Mikail Kamara, who was announced this week. Some of Kamara’s JMU teammates are in the portal as well however, without a destination announced.
One or more of these James Madison defensive players seem likely to end up in Bloomington, with Fisher and Carpenter leading the way as the best fits.
Linebacker Aiden Fisher was named to the All-Sun Belt Third Team after leading the Dukes in total tackles (91) and an interception. Fisher had six tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, five QB hits and a blocked kick. He has two more years of eligibility.
Defensive lineman James Carpenter was named to the All-Sun Belt Second Team after he finished the season with 48 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks, six QB hits, four pass breakups, two fumbles recovered and an interception. He has one year of eligibility left.
Linebacker Taurus Jones was the first player to announce his move on Nov. 30 after Cignetti took the Indiana job. Jones started to open the season, but dealt with an injury. He finished the regular season with 38 total tackles, four for a loss and a sack. He entered the portal with one year left of eligibility as a graduate.
Linebacker Jailin Walker also dealt with an injury but finished the season with 55 total tackles, 4.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks and 4.0 pass breakups and was named to the All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention list. He enters the portal with one year of eligibility.
Defensive end Abi Nwabuoku-Okonji had 21 tackles (11 solo) to go with 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries in 2022. He was hurt in week one in 2023. He started his career in the Big Ten at Minnesota.
There are also a few James Madison offensive players still available in the portal worth mentioning.
Wide receiver Elijah Sarratt caught 74 balls for over 1,000 yards this season. Indiana has already landed three portal receivers and have both E.J. Williams and Donaven McCulley coming back. If Cignetti takes any more wideouts it will probably be someone with sprinter speed who can deliver splash plays via the deep ball.
Tight end Zach Horton contributed 266 yards receiving and six touchdowns for JMU. He earned a spot on the All-Sun Belt First Team Offense. The junior enters the transfer portal with 39 receptions, 425 yards and eight touchdowns for his career.
Offensive lineman Tyler Stephens started all 12 games this season, switching between three different positions on the line for the Dukes.
Running back Kaelon Black was the other half of a JMU tandem. With IU already snaring his backfield mate Ty Son Lawton, along with Wake Forest’s Justice Ellison, it would seem unlikely IU would pursue Black.
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