Bloomington – Can someone find the Hoosiers a cornerback?!
With the decade winding down, Hoosier Nation is looking back at the best the IU Athletics Department had to offer during the last 10 years. Yesterday we compiled our 10 best IU basketball players since 2000, and today it's the top talent that the IU football program boasted.
Despite the fact IU appeared in only one bowl game, compiled a 39-78 overall record, and finished last in the Big Ten five times during the period, some of the program's best ever have played during the era, especially on offense. From Antwaan Randle El to James Hardy to Tracy Porter, the IU record book is well represented by 21st century players.
But with that said…there's one particular position that's been particularly lacking – cornerback. With the exception of Porter, there's been no one that's distinguished themselves at the position in the last 10 years. Other than Porter, not a single Hoosier corner has received any All-Big Ten mention whatsoever during the era. Heck, a case could be made that Cedric Henry (who started six games as a true freshman in 2003 before leaving due to academic issues) or Ray Fisher (who moved to corner this season and had 40 tackles in nine games before getting injured) were every bit as good as anyone else who lined up at the position this decade.
But…we didn't go that route at cornerback. Read on to find out who the best choice out of a bad lot was at the second cornerback position, and who the other members of the IU Football "Team of the Decade" were:
IU's football Team of the Decade
QB – Antwaan Randle El, 1998-01 – tabbed as the Big Ten's offensive Player of the Year in 2001 and Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP
RB – Levron Williams, 1998-01 – first-team All-Big Ten in 2001. His 1,401-yard '01 campaign ranks fifth in IU history, and his 17 touchdowns that season ranks third behind only Anthony Thompson (26 in '88, 24 in '89)
WR – Courtney Roby, 2001-04 – ranks second on IU's all-time list in receptions (170) and receiving yards (2,524). His 1,039-yard 2002 season is one of only four times an IU receiver has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark
WR – James Hardy, 2005-07 – Indiana's career leader in receptions (191), receiving yards (2,740) and receiving touchdowns (36). First-team All-Big Ten choice in 2007 after breaking IU's single season record in both receptions (79) and touchdown receptions (16). Second-round NFL Draft pick of the Buffalo Bills
WR – Tandon Doss, 2008-09 – As only a sophomore, Doss earned first-team All-Big Ten honors with 77 catches for 962 yards and five touchdowns. His reception total was just two shy of Hardy's single-season mark, and his yardage total is fifth in IU history
OL – Enoch DeMar, 1999-02 – Second-team All-Big Ten choice in 2002 and a mainstay of offensive lines that blocked for Randle El
OL – Isaac Sowells, 2002-05 - a fourth-round NFL Draft pick in 2005
OL – Rodger Saffold, 2006-09 – four-year starting left tackle who became the first IU offensive lineman since DeMar to earn any sort of All-Big Ten honors when he was tabbed as a second-team choice as a senior
OL – Craig Osika, 1999-02 – played alongside DeMar on the offensive lines that opened holes for Randle El and Levron Williams and started at center in 2001 and 2002. Went on to play four years in the NFL
OL – Justin Frye, 2004-07 – started 44 straight games at Indiana and played at every offensive line position during his Hoosier career
TE/FB – John Pannozzo, 2002-05 – A three-year starter at fullback for Gerry DiNardo, Pannozzo moved to linebacker as a senior when Terry Hoeppner arrived with his fullback-less spread offensive attack
DE – Jammie Kirlew, 2006-09 – first-team All-Big Ten in '08 and second-team in '09. Ranks third in IU history with 23 sacks and second with 52 ½ tackles for loss
DT – Kris Dielman, 1999-02 – honorable mention All-Big Ten as a tight end as a junior and then as a defensive tackle as a senior. Now a Pro Bowl offensive guard for San Diego Chargers
DT – Victor Adeyanju, 2002-05 – Second team All-Big Ten in 2005 after totaling 47 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 6 ½ sacks. Started 43 games in his career, primarily at defensive end. But did slide over to the defensive end spot late in his career in passing situations.
DE – Greg Middleton, 2006-09 – While Middleton didn't finish his career the way he'd hoped in 2008 and 2009, it's impossible to ignore his NCAA-leading and Indiana-record 16-sack season in 2007. Middleton earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors for his success during IU's Insight Bowl season
LB – Kyle Killion – Second-team All-Big Ten in 2004, honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2005. Led the Hoosiers in tackles in 2003 and 2005 and finished his career ranked fifth in school history in tackles for loss with 35
LB – Justin Smith, 1998-01 – A three-year starter at outside linebacker under Cam Cameron, Smith was one of the bright spots on a defense that otherwise struggled annually. He totaled 25 tackles for loss in 2000-01, and he led IU in tackles in both 1999 and 2001
LB – Matt Mayberry, 2006-09 – Honorable mention All-Big Ten pick in '09 who led the program in tackles in 2008 (89) and 2009 (108). Added 10 ½ sacks and 19 ½ tackles for loss during the last two campaigns.
CB – Tracy Porter, 2004-07 – First-team All-Big Ten cornerback in 2007 who ranks second in IU history with 16 interceptions. Second-round NFL Draft pick of the New Orleans Saints
CB – Leslie Majors, 2004-07 – Majors gets the nod here based on the fact he was a starter for the majority of three seasons and did start on Indiana's Insight Bowl squad. He was the beneficiary of playing on the opposite side of Porter, though, so Majors rarely drew the opposing team's No. 1 wide receiver in man-to-man schemes. Had a career-high 62 tackles and two interceptions in 2007
S – Herana-Daze Jones, 2001-04 – Fourth-leading tackler in Hoosier football history (342) who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2004
S – Will Meyers, 2003-06 – The Big Ten's Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2003, Meyers finished his career with 278 tackles and six interceptions. Five of those picks come during his senior season, when he also led the team with 78 tackles.
P – Chris Hagerup, 2008-09 – Hagerup hasn't garnered any All-Big Ten accolades in his first two seasons on campus, but his 42.4 yards/punt average a season ago was the seventh-best in school history and the best of the decade. He followed that up with a 40.5 average this season, earning him honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades.
PK – Austin Starr, 2005-08 – There haven't been any bigger kicks in the history of IU football (other than the Scott Bonnell miss against Purdue in 1989 that cost IU a bowl trip and possibly cost Anthony Thompson the Heisman Trophy) than Starr's 49-yarder to beat Purdue in 2007. Starr earned All-America honors after making 21-of-23 field goals that season.
IU BASKETBALL: Team of the Decade
IU Football: Team of the Decade
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