After sitting out the 2002 season as a transfer from Notre Dame, Matt LoVecchio started 11 of Indiana's 12 games in 2003. The 6-3, 216-pound senior completed 155-of-291 passes for 1,778 yards and three touchdowns. His most memorable moment of the season came when his eight-yard touchdown run with 24 seconds left capped a 12-play, 66-yard game-winning drive in the 17-14 win over Illinois on Nov. 8. LoVecchio was directly responsible for 65 of the 66 yards gained on that decisive drive.
When LoVecchio sustained a head injury against Ohio State on Oct. 25, Graeme McFarland made his debut against the Buckeyes, completin all six of his pass attempts for 54 yards and a touchdown. McFarland started the following week at Minnesota and completed 12-of-30 for 152 yards.
Redshirt freshmen Blake Powers and Jordy Bernhard also return after working out with the practice squad in 2003.
Highly-touted freshman Mike Vlahogeorge graduated from Lafayette (Ind.) Jefferson High School last December so that he could enroll at IU in January and then participate in drills this spring. Vlahogeorge closed his prep career as a two-time all-state selection whose 10,757 passing yards rank third in Indiana high school history. This includes a single-game state record 563-yard, seven touchdown effort against Richmond.
The Hoosiers welcome a full stable of running backs, led by 2003 Sporting News All-Big Ten Freshman selection BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis ranked third in the conference averaging 98.0 rushing yards per game against Big Ten opposition. He finished his true freshman campaign with 225 carries for 938 yards and seven touchdowns. His 938 yards rushing were the most for a Hoosier freshman since Alex Smith ran for 1,475 yards in 1994.
Among several productive games for Green-Ellis was a 42-carry, 203-yard performance at Penn State to join Alex Smith and Anthony Thompson as the only three freshman running backs in Indiana history to run for over 200 yards in a single game.
Junior Chris Taylor also saw considerable action last fall. He carried the ball 116 times for 464 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Taylor rushed for a season-high 90 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown against Indiana State and had 13 carries for 73 yards at Connecticut (5.6 avg.)
Junior running back Yamar Washington missed the 2003 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament one day prior to the 2003 spring game. He underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the ligament in his left knee and is back on the field for 2004.
Washington led the Hoosiers in rushing in his redshirt freshman campaign of 2002 en route to earning Big Ten All-Freshman honors from The Sporting News. He rushed for 688 yards on 174 carries and scored a team-best nine touchdowns on the season. Washington rushed for over 100 yards in three games including a career-best 163 yards at Kentucky. He became the first Hoosier freshman since 1994 to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games when he followed up his Kentucky game with 129 yards against Central Michigan.
Redshirt freshman Kenni Burns, a native of Springfield, Ill., is one of the most prolific runners in Illinois high school history. He was forced to redshirt last year after breaking his arm in preseason drills.
Junior fullback John Pannozzo is a vocal leader who has started at fullback since his freshman year. He saw 703 snaps of game action as a sophomore in 2003 despite missing Indiana's game at Penn State with a head injury. Used primarily as a blocker and receiver out of the backfield, Pannozzo has 41 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns during his career, including 15 catches for 117 yards as a sophomore in 2003.
The Hoosiers also boast a steady corp of veteran wide receivers. Senior Courtney Roby ranks fifth in school history with 1,714 career receiving yards, a mark that is 647 yards shy of the school record. Roby's 108 career receptions rank 10th in school history and are 40 short of the school record. The Indianapolis native has led the team in catches and yards each of the last two seasons. Roby made 45 catches for 504 yards as a junior in 2003, including an eight-catch, 81-yard performance against Illinois and a seven-catch, 71-yard effort at Washington.
Roby joined the Indiana track and field team just prior to spring ball and ran a 6.90 in the 60-meter dash in his first competitive track meet since high school. That mark was the fastest for any Hoosier sprinter all year.
Senior receiver Travis Haney has big-play potential, evidenced by the fact that he averaged a team-best 22.0 yards per catch as a junior in 2003. Haney made eight catches for 176 yards, with his best performance coming against Connecticut, when he made three catches for 99 yards.
Junior receiver Tyke Spencer made seven catches for 81 yards as a sophomore in 2003.
Seeing all his action as a slot receiver, Spencer was on the field for 105 snaps of game action during his sophomore year. He played a season-high 37 snaps aganst Kentucky. Spencer's most productive day was a two-catch, 27-yard performance against Michigan State in East Lansing. Spencer made a reception against Indiana State, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.
Tywan Freeney is one of three Hoosier newcomers who enrolled at Indiana in January so that he could compete in spring drills. Freeney earned All-American honors at Nassau CC after catching 34 passes for 715 yards and eight touchdowns in 2003.
Indiana also returns its entire offensive line.
Junior Adam Hines and senior Chris Jahnke are the incumbents at guard. Hines started as a true freshman in 2002 and has emerged into the role of vocal leader of the offensive line. Hines played more snaps (969) than any other Hoosier during the 2003 season. Hines started all 12 games during his sophomore season at left guard. Jahnke is a versatile and reliable talent on the offensive line and has started 24 consecutive games over the last two seasons. One of the stalwarts on the offensive line as a junior in 2003, Jahnke started 11 games at right guard and made one start at right tackle out of necessity due to an injury.
Junior left tackle Isaac Sowells also gained valuable experience in 2003. Sowells ranked second on the team in total snaps played as a sophomore in 2003, as he was on the field for 967 snaps of game action as a sophomore, including a season-high 93 at Penn State.
Sophomore Chris Mangiero returns at center. The son of Indiana linebackers coach Dino Mangiero, Chris Mangiero was forced into the lineup after a season-ending injury sustained by Brandon Hatcher against Kentucky the fourth game of the year. Mangiero stepped in and started the rest of the season. Mangiero led all of Indiana's true freshmen with 693 snaps of game action last year, despite not playing at all during the first three games.
Sophomore offensive lineman Justin Frye emerged as the starter at right tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2003. Frye was on the field for 821 snaps of game action as a freshman and was part of the youngest offensive line in the Big Ten. His 85 snaps played against Kentucky marked a season-high. He also played 80 snaps or more against Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois. An injury sidelined him for the season finale at Purdue.
Center Brandon Hatcher's 2003 season was cut short after he sustained a knee injury against Kentucky that kept him sidelined the rest of the year. He started each of the first four contests and was on the field for a total of 240 snaps.
Senior offensive lineman Chris Voltattorni made an impact in 2003, earning a start at right guard in the season finale against Purdue. Voltattorni saw 194 snaps of game action, with a season-high 80 coming against the Boilermakers. He also saw 49 snaps of action against Minnesota and 39 snaps against Penn State. Senior Aaron Halterman figures to be a leader for Indiana in 2004. The starter at tight end each of the last two seasons, Halterman made 23 catches for 230 yards in 2003. Halterman made seven catches for 51 yards against Kentucky.
Sophomore tight end Chris Rudanovic made an impact as a true freshman in 2003. Rudanovic started against both Michigan and Illinois and finished the season with three catches for 40 yards. He made a season-long 21-yard grab against Kentucky. He also made receptions against Ohio State and Penn State. Rudanovic played in 11 of Indiana's 12 contests and saw a season-high 25 snaps at Penn State.