Note: We combined linebackers with outside linebackers for this piece.
In terms of who’s coming and who’s going, Indiana’s linebackers are one of the more interesting position groups on the team.
There aren’t a particularly high number of guys leaving. But the four who are leaving were all major pieces of IU’s defense in 2022.
Cam Jones was the centerpiece of the defense when he was healthy, a true leader in the middle, but he’s out of eligibility. Lance Bryant tied for the team lead in sacks and finished second in tackles for loss, and he’s also out of eligibility. Star freshman Dasan McCullough tied Bryant in sacks and was third in TFL’s, and he transferred to Oklahoma. And Bradley Jennings Jr., who stepped up in a big way once Jones went out, is also gone.
That’s a lot of production to replace. Indiana has some veterans to fill those spots, but it may not be easy.
All-Big Ten selection Aaron Casey had a strong 2022 and will be IU’s catalyst again in the fall. He led the Hoosiers in both tackles and TFL’s last year.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Hohlt made just one start last year, but he acquitted himself well in the 10 games he played in. Redshirt senior Jared Casey saw some action last year and could be in a bigger role this year.
IU has no incoming freshmen linebackers, so it’s just the three transfer portal additions, junior Joshua Rudolph, senior Darryl Minor, and redshirt fifth-year senior Jacob Mangum-Farrar. The latter started seven games at Stanford last season, and could be an immediate help for IU.
Redshirt freshman Kaiden Turner has received praise from coaches and teammates this spring, as well, so he could be a depth piece (or more) in the fall.
IU has less experience back at outside linebacker. McCullough did so much at the position, it’ll be hard to account for his loss. Myles Jackson had some good moments last year, but he’s the only one of the three returning OLB’s with significant experience. Senior Lanell Carr transferred in from West Virginia, and could chip in on the outside as well this fall.
There’s some opportunity for other players to earn roles as well. But it’s not just Aaron Casey’s linebacking corps — it’s Aaron Casey’s defense in 2023.
Leaving: Cam Jones (out of eligibility), Dasan McCullough (transfer — Oklahoma), Bradley Jennings Jr. (out of eligibility), Lance Bryant (out of eligibility)
Key Returning: Aaron Casey (redshirt fifth-year senior), Jared Casey (redshirt senior), Myles Jackson (redshirt junior), Matt Hohlt (redshirt sophomore), Kaiden Turner (redshirt freshman), Isaiah Jones (redshirt freshman)
Incoming: Joshua Rudolph (transfer — Austin Peay), Darryl Minor (transfer — UTEP), Jacob Mangum-Farrar (transfer — Stanford), Lanell Carr (transfer — West Virginia)
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