Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
Another weekend has come to a close and while that means you are likely back to the daily grind, on the plus side we are that much nearer to the Hoosiers' 2015 season opener. With only 26 days left until their match-up with Southern Illinois, Indiana's Secondary Coaches Noah Joseph and Brandon Shelby will be tasked with finding four new starters on the back-end of the Indiana defense. Redshirt sophomore Chase Dutra is the favorite to start at one of the safety positions, but who will join him on the gridiron to begin the game on September 5 is still a mystery. However, sophomore Kiante Walton looks to be one of the front-runners to get the nod at the other safety position when the Salukis come to town.
As a senior at George Washington Carver High School Walton recorded 47 tackles with one forced fumble and five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also contributed on special teams, scoring on both a kick-off and punt return. When the season came to a close Walton was named first team All-Bi City and honorable mention all-state in 2013. He also put his great athleticism to use on the school's track team.
The former three-star prospect was originally committed to Appalachian State before a trip to Bloomington in late January/early February. On Sunday morning, February 2, 2014, Walton switched his commitment from the Mountaineers to the Hoosiers, just three days prior to National Signing Day. He also held offers from Missouri, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, BYU, Southern Miss, Troy, Army, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, South Alabama and Jacksonville State.
Shortly after this decision, Walton spoke to Peegs.com writer Matt Weaver about why he felt the Hoosiers were the right choice. "I like what they have told me about the chance to play early. I also like that they are in the Big Ten and play quality teams and I just feel like I need to be in that kind of environment playing against quality teams to show how good I am."
The Georgia native made his way to Bloomington last summer and looked to have a future at cornerback, but was quickly moved to safety early in fall camp. Walton saw action in all 12 games for Indiana as freshman, recording eight tackles.
With the graduation of four-year starter Mark Murphy and the dismissal Antonio Allen, there will be plenty of snaps to go around at safety this fall and Walton will likely be one of the recipients of the available playing time, potentially even starting alongside Dutra. The team has some other young options at safety, including Tony Fields, Will Dawkins, Jameel Cook, and Jonathon Crawford, who will also be in mix for snaps. Comeback tomorrow as we take a look at a talented duo who will be sporting 25 for the Hoosiers this fall.