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IU football’s top and bottom five players halfway through the season according to PFF

It’s hard to believe, but the 2022 IU football season is already halfway over.

For this week’s look inside the Pro Football Focus numbers, we take a look at the Hoosiers top and bottom five performers on each side of the football.

Here are Indiana’s top five players on each side of the ball according to PFF.

DEFENSE (Min. 75 snaps)

Top Five

1. Cam Jones (LB) – Among players with 100 run defense snaps, Jones is top-20 nationally according to PFF.  But of course he’s out now for multiple games with a foot injury.

2. Noah Pierre (DB) – Pierre has been really good from his husky position in passing situations, both as a rusher and in coverage.  Seven missed tackles is holding him back from a complete season.

3. Demarcus Elliott (DT) – Elliott has been stout against the run and he’s only missed one tackle all year, although it did lead to a big play against Cincinnati.

4. Bradley Jennings (LB) – Jennings stepped up in a starting role against Michigan after Jones went down, and he amassed 13 tackles.  Run defense has been a strength, but Jennings is a bit undersized and doesn’t get home enough rushing the quarterback from his inside spot.

5. Devon Matthews (S) – Matthews seems to be trending favorably, with high-end tackling grades in two of the last three games.  He should have had two interceptions against Michigan, and he’s been inconsistent in coverage overall.

Bottom Five

18. James Head, Jr. (DE) – Head, Jr. has had the unenviable task of trying to play catch-up midseason after missing the first two weeks with injury.  His results have been mixed, and he’s particularly not trending well against the run.

19. Josh Sanguinetti (S) – After encouraging moments going back to 2021, Sanguinetti has struggled against the run, missing five tackles.  His pass coverage hasn’t been much better, although that aspect of his game has improved over the last two weeks.

20. Myles Jackson (OLB) – Perhaps in part because he’s been asked to play multiple positions due to injuries, Jackson has been inconsistent while making several big plays.

21. Patrick Lucas (DT) – The Ole Miss transfer is averaging around 25 snaps a game and to this point hasn’t made a significant impact.

22. Jared Casey (LB) – The Kentucky transfer has had his share of challenges against both the run and pass.  PFF doesn’t track missed run fits, which has been an issue as well.

OFFENSE (Min. 150 snaps)

Top Five

1. Josh Henderson (RB) – Henderson has been effective in both the run and pass game, and caused a bit more rotation in the backfield than what seems to have been initially intended.

2. D.J. Matthews (WR) – Indiana’s biggest playmaker on offense, it’s no coincidence the offense is sputtering even more with Matthews out the last two and a half games with a hamstring injury.

3. Cam Camper (WR) – Camper may not consistently get separation on his routes, but he’s reliable, can catch contested throws, and is Indiana’s leading receiver based on catches and yards by a wide margin.

4. Luke Haggard (OT) – The good news is IU has a starting lineman in the top five, but Haggard’s play seems to be on the decline.  He allowed seven quarterback pressures against Michigan, half of his season total.

5. Khalil Benson (OG) – From a PFF grades standpoint, Benson has been the better of a two-man rotation at right guard.  His run blocking has been improving, but he’s allowed seven pressures in 114 pass blocking snaps over the last three games.

Bottom Five

12. Zach Carpenter (C/OG) – Carpenter has dealt with a hand injury but he’s actually graded better since that caused him to move from center to left guard.

13. Andison Coby (WR) – Most of what put Coby here happened in the first two weeks, when he had two drops in the first two games.  He’s done reasonably well since then.

14. Parker Hanna (OT) – Perhaps no stat line highlights the problems IU has had in pass protection more than Hanna’s 35 quarterback pressures allowed.  He’s been okay in the run game, but Hanna has been a major drop off from starter Matthew Bedford.

15. Tim Weaver (OG) – Weaver has graded poorly in both run and pass blocking this year, and his deficiencies in pass protection have been an issue throughout his time at IU.

16. Caleb Murphy (C) – The third-string center who only moved to offensive line in the spring was put in a tough spot after both players above him in the depth chart went down.

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