For the 2017 season IU returns both of their starting cornerbacks, including one of the top corners in the country in Rashard Fant. In this position primer Peegs.com takes a look at the cornerback position for the Hoosiers.
CLASS: Redshirt Senior
STATS: In 2016 Fant recorded 33 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, three interceptions including one he returned for a touchdown, one tackle for loss and one QB hurry.
NOTES: Rashard Fant has established himself as one of the top cover corners in not only the Big Ten, but also the nation. He led the conference and was second nationally in pass break-ups, and he led the conference and was third nationally in passes defended. The Georgia native has always been good in coverage but struggled at times when it came to tackling, and while he will never been the most physical DB ever, he did show last fall that he was more willing to come up and play with more physicality when he needed to. With Fant back at corner the Hoosiers have someone that can match up with pretty much any wideout they will face all season.
STATS: In 2016 Riggins recorded 37 tackles, nine pass break-ups, two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble.
NOTES: A'shon Riggins was a real pleasant surprise last fall for the IU defense. There was no doubting his talent when he arrived on campus last fall, but cornerback is hard for a true freshman to play, especially one that did not play it full-time in high school. The Ohio native was a rotational player early in the season before being inserted into the starting line-up for the final eight games of the regular season. While Riggins did look like a freshman at times, he also showed why the staff is so high on his potential. Riggins needs to continue to work on his size and his strength, but because his athleticism and ball skills are so good he is still able to hold his own against some of the top wideouts in the Big Ten.
STATS: In 2016 Green recorded 10 tackles, two pass break-ups and one forced fumble.
NOTES: Tyler Green is a long, athletic corner that has a decent amount of experience after playing in 20 games and starting three in his first two years at IU. The Maryland native was a high rated recruit coming out of high school, and while there have been glimpses of why he was so highly thought of, his play hasn’t been as consistent as the coaches would like. Green did play very well in the Foster Farms Bowl when he got the start for an injured A’Shon Riggins. If he can carry that performance over to this spring and this fall it will give the IU defensive staff another cornerback that can play at a high level, which is huge in today’s college football where so many teams are running spread offenses.
CLASS: Redshirt Senior
STATS: In 2016 Bach
NOTES: Ben Bach is a former walk-on that gives the Hoosiers a versatile player for their secondary. He started four games at corner last fall and played in 11 games total at that spot, but he could also slide over and play at Husky if he was asked to. The Illinois native isn’t going to wow anyone with his physical talent, but he is a heady player with good size that understands the defense and is usually in the right spot. With Fant, Riggins and Green ahead of him at corner it will be probably be difficult for him to get a ton of playing time, but he should be a valuable reserve as well as a valuable member of the special teams units.
CLASS: Redshirt Sophomore
STATS: In 2016 Brown spent the season as a medical redshirt. In 2015 he played in nine games and started eight and he recorded 35 tackles, four pass break-ups and one fumble recovery.
NOTES: Andre Brown looked like he would be a staple at cornerback for the Hoosiers after starting eight games there as a true freshman in 2015, but he suffered an injury that ended his first season with the Hoosiers, and then he missed all of last season with an injury. There were was some question as to whether or not Brown would ever be healthy enough to play football again, but late last year he was able to return to the practice field and he is cleared to participate this spring. If he can stay on the field it would be a big boost for the Indiana defense because he has nice combination of size and athleticism, and even though he did not play last fall he is still a fairly experienced player.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Starter: Rashard Fant
Back-up: Andre Brown
3rd string: Ben Bach
Starter: A’Shon Riggins
Back-up: Tyler Green
3rd String: Ben Bach
If they can stay healthy at cornerback the Hoosiers have a solid group of returning players at that spot. Their starting duo of Fant and Riggins is one of the better tandems in the Big Ten, and then they have solid depth with Green, Bach and Brown, especially if Brown can stay healthy. The depth is a little thin until reinforcements arrive in the fall when the freshmen arrive, but it is still quality depth. Fant is one of the top cornerbacks in college football, and although Riggins is still a young player, he showed last fall that he has the ability to be as good as Fant before too long. If Green can take the next step with his game and be more consistent that would give the IU defensive staff three corners they could put out there and feel comfortable with. And if Brown can get back to the promise he showed as a true freshman in 2015, and he can stay healthy, cornerback could go from one of the better position groups on the roster to arguably the top position group on the roster. Bach gives the Hoosiers experienced depth if one of their top guys would go down with an injury.