Spring Position Preview - Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
April 7, 2009
Andrew Means departed to focus on his professional football and baseball careers and Ray Fisher has switched to cornerback, but a young, talented and deep pool of receivers with some of fifth-year senior Kellen Lewis mixed in, are poised to step up and fill their shoes.
Junior Terrance Turner is the elder statesman of the group. Turner played in all 12 games last season and finished third on the team with 29 receptions and fourth on the club with 289 receiving yards.
Meanwhile, a pair of true freshmen made a smooth transition to the next level and showed the future is bright for the Hoosiers. Damarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss turned in two of the top true freshman seasons in Indiana history.
Belcher, a 6-5, Fort Wayne native, played in all 12 games and finished the season fourth on the team with 25 receptions, third with 337 yards, tied for second with two touchdowns, and third with 13.5 yards per catch and 28.1 yards per game. His 337 yards and 25 grabs rank third in IU history among true freshmen.
Doss, a 6-3, Indianapolis product, played in eight games and caught 14 passes for 186 yards, averaging 13.3 yards per reception, and added one touchdown. He hauled in a career-high eight passes for a team season-high 107 yards and a TD in the Hoosiers' win over No. 22 (BCS) Northwestern. Doss became the first true freshman since O.J. Conner in 1997 to go over 100 receiving yards, just the third true freshman (fourth time) in IU history to record a 100-yard receiving game (Ernie Jones, twice; Conner) and the fifth freshman (10th time) to reach the 100-yard mark (James Hardy, five times; Jones, twice; Levron Williams; Conner).
Along with Belcher (six catches, 82 yards, one TD), the duo set an Indiana true freshman record with 189 yards against the Wildcats. Their 523 combined yards on the year rank second and their 39 combined receptions rank third all-time by a true freshman duo in IU lore.
On the inside, junior Mitchell Evans will dedicate himself to one position for the first time since arriving on campus. Evans has played wideout, quarterback, safety and on special teams in his career. Last season, Evans played in all 12 games at wide receiver and quarterback (three games). The tough and adaptable West Milton, Ohio, native caught nine balls for 129 yards, threw for 37 yards with one TD and rushed for 26 yards with a score.
Filling out the receiving corps, fifth-year senior Chris Banks, junior Aaron Burks and sophomore Dre Muhammad will receive plenty of opportunities this spring. Redshirt freshman Charles Love III will sit out the spring after undergoing ACL surgery in the offseason.
At tight end, solid blocker and fifth-year senior Troy Wagner tops the depth chart. Wagner made five starts and saw action in 11 of the team's 12 games in 2008.
He is backed up by promising sophomore Max Dedmond, who displayed his speed and sure hands with six catches for 51 yards a year ago. Dedmond made four starts and played in every game as a redshirt freshman.
Check back soon