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Indiana Hoosiers 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting Preview)

Matt Gajewski

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2021 Indiana Hoosiers Big Ten College Football season preview depth chart roster schedule fantasy football betting picks

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers

2020 Record: 6-2
Returning Starters: Offense No. 8, Defense No. 9

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Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Tom Allen (24-22) — 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • Offensive Coordinator — Nick Sheridan
  • Defensive Coordinator — Charlton Warren
  • Points/Game — 28.9 (55th)
  • Plays/Game — 71.8 (65th)
  • Pass Rate — 52.61% (27th)
  • Yards/Att R — 3.3 (111th)
  • Yards/Att P — 6.9 (79th)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 4.0 (45th)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 7.0 (45th)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 20.2 (20th)
  • Vegas Win Total – 7.5, Over -115, Under -105

Notes

Sheridan formerly coached tight ends before his promotion ahead of 2020. Warren was Georgia’s defensive backs coach from 2019 to 2020 before taking the defensive coordinator job. Tom Allen has been there since 2016.

Recruiting Class: No. 53

Top Recruits:

  • Donaven McCulley — No. 9 Dual-Threat QB
  • Jaquez Smith — No. 41 WR

Transfers

  • Zach Carpenter (Michigan)
  • D.J. Matthews (Florida State)
  • Ryder Anderson (Ole Miss)
  • Stephen Carr (USC)

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch

QB Michael Penix, WR Ty Fryfogle

Indiana Hoosiers Depth Charts

Offense: 8 Returning Starters

  • QB: Michael Penix, Jack Tuttle
  • RB: Sampson James, Tim Baldwin
  • WR1: Ty Fryfogle, Jacolby Hewitt
  • WR2: Miles Marshall, Camron Buckley
  • WR3: D.J. Matthews, Javon Swinton
  • TE: Peyton Hendershot, Matt Bjorson
  • LT: Caleb Jones, Luke Haggard
  • LG: Mike Katic, Dylan Powell
  • C: Zach Carpenter
  • RG: Mackenzie Nworah
  • RT: Matthew Bedford, Aidan Rafferty

Defense: 9 Returning Starters

  • Edge: James Head, Alfred Bryant
  • DT: Demarcus Elliott
  • DT: Sio Nofoagatoto’a
  • Edge: Ryder Anderson, Michael Ziemba
  • LB: Micah McFadden
  • LB: Cam Jones, Bryant Fitzgerald
  • CB: Taiwan Mullen
  • CB: Jaylin Williams
  • CB-N Reese Taylor
  • S: Raheem Layne, Juwan Burgess
  • S: Devon Matthews

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Indiana Hoosiers Breakdown

Indiana returns a promising offense that lost only center Harry Crider, receiver Whop Philyor and running back Stevie Scott. As a team Indiana lost one regular season game to Ohio State, which came down to one possession. With this level of returning talent, they have a roster that could make some noise in the Big Ten East.

 
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Looking at the offensive line, Indiana returns six players with significant experience despite losing Crider. While Indiana only allowed five sacks all season, they allowed a tremendous amount of pressure. They ranked 124th in pass blocking last year according to PFF, causing quarterback Michael Penix to face pressures on over 40% of his dropbacks. From a personnel perspective, Matt Bedford (right tackle), Mackenzie Nworah (right guard), Mike Katic (left guard) and Caleb Jones (left tackle) all return as starters. Indiana also added Zach Carpenter from Michigan in the transfer portal. Carpenter did not receive much playing time with the Wolverines but has a chance to step in immediately as the team’s top blocker. Aside from Carpenter, Jones earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2019 and will look to return for form. As it stands, this is still Indiana’s top weakness on offense.

In the run game, the Hoosiers have two quality replacements in Sampson James and Tim Baldwin. James carried 32 times for 96 scoreless yards last year (3.0 yards per carry). Likewise, Baldwin carried 22 times for 141 scoreless yards last year (6.4 yards per carry). While a small sample size, the sophomore Baldwin looks like a candidate to take a step forward in a run game that ranked 111th in yards per carry last year. They also added transfer Stephen Carr from USC. Carr is a former five-star recruit, but he has never rushed for more than 396 yards in any individual season. He has caught 57 passes in his career.

The pass game currently hinges on the health of Penix. Penix threw for 1,645 yards, 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions on 220 pass attempts last year. He completed 56.4% of his attempts but did so despite facing pressure on 40% of his dropbacks. More impressively, Penix averaged 275 yards per game prior to injury. From an efficiency perspective, Penix’s adjusted completion percentage came in at 66.8% with a 10.6 ADO and 2.5 seconds per throw. He also rarely committed turnovers. Behind Penix, Jack Tuttle performed well enough in relief last year. Indiana also recruited four-star dual-threat quarterback Donaven McCulley in the 2021 recruiting cycle.

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Penix lost Philyor, but he returns Second-Team All-Big Ten receiver Ty Fryfogle. Fryfogle amassed 37 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns in a shortened season last year. He played 33% of his snaps in the slot but should function primarily as a boundary receiver here. Miles Marshall also returns after catching 19 passes for 290 yards and one score last year. He finished third in receiver. The primary candidate to replace Philyor still is Florida State transfer D.J. Matthews. Sitting out last year, Matthews played 85% of his snaps in the slot in 2019. Catching 36 passes for 355 yards that year, Matthews should fill this role with Indiana. At tight end Peyton Hendershot returned after a lackluster 2020. Hendershot caught 23 passes for 151 yards and four touchdowns. However, Hendershot showed his true ceiling in 2019 with a 52-catch, 622-yard and four-touchdowns season. For depth, Indiana returns fifth-leading receiver David Ellis and recruited another four-star player in Jaquez Smith.

On defense Indiana lost stud safety Jamar Johnson and defensive linemen Jerome Johnson and Jovan Swann. The strength of this defense is still the secondary, where they return five six defensive backs who received meaningful snaps. Taiwan Mullen should return as the team’s top corner after defending four passes and intercepting another three. He was First Team All-Big Ten. Reese Taylor and Jaylin Williams (Third Team All-Big Ten) also played quite a bit with Taylor defending seven passes himself and intercepting one ball. Williams defended one pass and intercepted four. Devon Matthews (Fourth-Team All-Big Ten) and Bryant Fitzgerald both played a decent amount in the slot last year, but Indiana also returns Marcelino Ball from a torn ACL. The primary slot corner in 2019, this could push Matthews to Johnson’s vacated safety position. Juwan Burgess should round out the other safety position.

In the front seven, linebacker is still a strength with the return of Micah McFadden (First Team All-Big Ten) and Cam Jones. McFadden was the team’s top defender last year with 59 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. Jones played well in run defense and as a pass rusher but showed liabilities in coverage. On the defensive line, this group struggled to consistently generate pressure. Names like James Head, Demarcus Elliott, Sio Nofoagatoto’a, Michael Ziemba and Alfred Bryant should all rotate in after getting experience last year. Indiana also added Ryder Anderson from Ole Miss, who finished with seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in the SEC last year.

Indiana 2021 Football Schedule

  • Sept. 4 Iowa 3:30 p.m. Away
  • Sept. 11 Idaho 7:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 18 Cincinnati 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 25 Western Kentucky 8:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 2 Penn State 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 16 Michigan St 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 23 Ohio State 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 30 Maryland 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 6 Michigan 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 13 Rutgers 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 20 Minnesota 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 27 Purdue 12:00 p.m. Away

Indiana Football Betting Outlook

Indiana draws Ohio State at home, but travels to Michigan, Maryland and Penn State. On the west, they face Iowa on the road to open the year. They close the year against Minnesota and Purdue. In non-conference play they draw Idaho, Western Kentucky and a tough home draw against Cincinnati. They will have wins over Idaho, Western Kentucky, Rutgers, Minnesota and Purdue. How they fare against midline Big Ten teams will decide a lot.


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Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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