Written By Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)
Countdown to Kickoff: #85- Ryan Watercutter
-Weight: 230 pounds
-Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
-Position: Tight End
Ryan Watercutter from Fort Wayne, Indiana joined IU football as a walk-on in 2015. He didn’t see any game action, but he played well enough on the practice squad to earn himself two-time scout team player of the week. Watercutter began his Indiana career as a linebacker, but during spring practice in 2016 he made the switch to tight end. “He worked so hard.” Coach Allen explained, “He did everything we asked him to do.” The positional change would eventually earn the walk-on a scholarship offer – one he received in dramatic fashion:
As a redshirt sophomore Watercutter earned scout team player of the week honors three times en route to an Academic All-Big Ten selection. Primed to contribute, Watercutter played in every single game during his junior season. The primary backup to future NFL draft pick, Ian Thomas, Watercutter caught 12 passes for 69 yards and made significant contributions on special teams. He was again named to the Academic All-Big Ten team. A high IQ and a linebacker’s body have allowed Watercutter to evolve as a college football player. One of his 12 catches was especially spectacular. In a 41-0 beatdown of Rutgers, Watercutter juggled a high pass and caught it with one hand, pinning the ball against his helmet:
Watercutter showed serious flashes of potential as an offensive weapon in the passing game. His physique will make him a force in the red zone and as a run blocker. His athleticism and playmaking ability will give him ample opportunity to start at tight end, following in the footsteps of Ian Thomas’ prolific 2017 season. In an interview with Hoosier Huddle following spring practice, Watercutter said, “I think it’s time for me to step up with my production on the field and also in the meeting rooms as a leader as well.” Despite his relatively limited experience, Watercutter will be the oldest and most experienced tight end on the Indiana football team this upcoming season. “Whatever the team needs me to do, that’s what I’m going to do,” he says. This year, the Hoosiers will need Watercutter to evolve into a reliable tight end, and IU fans have every reason to be confident he can fill that role.