Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU football’s Nworah and Smolar also returning for extra year | Reece and Cardillo in transfer portal

Announcements continue to roll in for Indiana’s 13 players eligible to return due to the special NCAA eligibility extension.

Redshirt senior guard Mackenzie Nworah announced on Tuesday that he would be returning to the program for the 2021 season. Kickoff specialist Jared Smolar announced his intent to return on Wednesday.

Nworah was a season-opening starter in 2020 and he has been a starter off and on throughout his time at IU.

The 6-foot-4 and 322 pound Nworah joined the IU program in 2016 and took a redshirt season.  He started six times at right guard in 2017 and three times in 2019 after battling injuries in 2018.

Nworah is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and on the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List.

Whether he starts or not in 2021, Nworah should be a key part of the depth and rotation for the IU offensive line.

A transfer from Rutgers, Smolar is from Valparaiso, Ind.  He has been IU’s primary kickoff specialist each of the past three seasons.  50 percent (22/44) of his kicks were touchbacks in 2020.  He averaged 62.2 yards per kickoff, tied for second best in the Big Ten.

On Tuesday, Marcelino Ball, Raheem Layne, Mike Ziemba and Kham Taylor all announced their intent to return for the 2021 season.  Offensive lineman Dylan Powell was already granted a sixth year by the NCAA and is expected to return.  Jon Blau of the Bloomington Herald Times reported that punter Haydon Whitehead is not expected to return.

We are now primarily waiting on announcements from receivers Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor, center Harry Crider, and defensive linemen Jovan Swann and Jerome Johnson.


Defensive lineman Tramar Reece is in the transfer portal based on multiple reports.

Reece just completed his redshirt junior season with Indiana, seeing limited action over the last three seasons as a reserve after taking a redshirt season in 2017.  The Clearwater, Fla. product appeared in just eight games during his time at IU in a limited role.

Reece was a 3-star prospect in the class of 2017 according to the 247Sports Composite.

Walk-on kicker Jack Cardillo is also in the portal according to his own Twitter page.  Cardillo reports that he is a graduate transfer with two years remaining.  Cardillo is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.

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