Offensive line is probably the most underappreciated position on a football team. With fans following the football, it is really difficult to be noticed. How many IU fans noticed that the best offensive lineman in the history of the program was playing in Bloomington just over the last few years?
Of course these things are debatable, but as we mentioned at the outset of this series, to be one of the all-time Top 10 players, you have to be a true outlier. Was Dan Feeney an outlier? Consider this:
During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, two-time captain Dan Feeney became just the fourth player in program history to earn first team All-America status twice and just the third to earn first team honors in back-to-back seasons. Indiana has had six offensive lineman that have been first team All-America, but only Feeney can claim that status twice.
Feeney started 46 games during his career playing right guard and a brief stint at right tackle. In those games he allowed just two sacks in 3,355 snaps. Let that sink in. In fact, during his junior year he did not allow a sack in 475 called pass attempts.
Of course these type of stats have not been maintained throughout the history of the program, and the game has changed dramatically — but the extent of Feeney’s dominance is undeniable.
Feeney’s excellence extended to the running game as well. Indiana produced first team All-Big Ten running backs in 2014 and 2015 in Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard. Leading the way for both of them were Feeney and his fellow offensive lineman including another first team All-American in Jason Spriggs.
With Feeney anchoring the line, IU compiled some of its more prolific offensive attacks in program history. In 2015, Feeney’s junior season, the Hoosiers became the first team since Ohio State in 1995 to lead the Big Ten in total, passing and scoring offense.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Feeney only committed 10 penalties during his entire IU career.
Not bad for an unheralded three-star recruit.
The other thing about Feeney is that he was an impact player from day one. He set a IU freshman record for starts by an offensive lineman with 12, was a freshman first team All-American and honorable mention All-Big Ten.
Greatness extends beyond the football field, and Feeney is equally noteworthy for his excellence in the locker room. When the Chicago native was going through the NFL Draft process in 2017, head coach Tom Allen was asked about him:
“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of feedback from scouts regarding Dan…The character and leadership, even in the combine, he showed all those qualities.
“It didn’t surprise us because that’s the kind of young man we see here every day. He’s a special young man projected to play for a long time.”
Feeney was selected in the third round (71st pick) of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers. He played in 15 games, starting nine. He was named to the All-Rookie first team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
See the rest of the list:
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier