Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Our Hoosier Huddle Countdown series is now nearly 66% complete and the season opener against Southern Illinois is now only 34 days away. A few days ago, we focused on the first running back of the countdown (#37 Alex Rodriguez). Today, we take a look at another of the players hoping to carry “the rock” for IU this fall, sophomore Devine Redding.
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 195 pounds
- Hometown: Youngstown, OH (Glenville High School)
- Year/Position: Sophomore/RB
Devine Redding played his high school football for Mineral Ridge High School before transferring to powerful Glenville High School for his senior season. He ran the ball for Ted Ginn Sr.’s powerhouse program and helped the Tarblooders to a 13-2 season and an appearance in the 2013 Ohio Division II championship game. He had a very strong close to his senior season, collecting more than 650 all-purpose yards in the final seven games of the season. Redding was rated as the number 58 running back nationally by 247Sports.com and committed to IU over interest from Illinois and Louisville.
Redding impressed RB coach Deland McCullough and the rest of the coaching staff enough to earn carries as the Hoosiers third running back. On the season, he rushed for 118 yards on 29 carries. Those don’t seem like overly impressive numbers but for a freshman that was only called on sparingly, Redding did exactly what was needed. His best game came against SEC East champion Missouri when Tevin Coleman was forced to leave for chunks of the game with an injury. The freshman from Youngstown stepped up with an important 49 yards on 10 carries as the Hoosiers stunned the Tigers in Columbia. Two weeks later, Redding carried the ball seven times for 39 yards and his first career TD in the win over North Texas. Overall, it was a very successful debut season.
Tevin Coleman and D’Angelo Roberts are both gone so it would be logical to expect a major downturn in IU’s rushing production. While you certainly can’t replace a player like Tevin Coleman or the solid consistency of a veteran like Roberts, Devine Redding made sure the culture of IU’s running back group stayed the same. “We’ve got to just continue to grow, continue to pound the rock, continue to follow our RB standards,” Redding told reporters this spring. “You know, just be upheld to what we accomplished and just keep going.”
Running backs coach Deland McCullough noticed that Redding immediately stepped in to be a leader. “You lost some great guys who provided some leadership and it was great that Devine stepped up immediately. You got a great group in there, guys who want to be great. Between our top two, three guys, we’ll be able to put up similar numbers to what we put up last year, I’m convinced of that.”
Redding is one of the key figures that will determine whether or not McCullough’s bold statement is proven correct. UAB transfer Jordan Howard is the presumptive starter but there should be at least 5-10 carries a game for the sophomore from Ohio and he’ll be expected to improve on his 4.1 yards per carry from 2014. With a good offensive scheme and an offensive line that’s expected to be as good as nearly any in the B1G, I think it is reasonable to expect Redding to come close to replicating D’Angelo Roberts’ 2014 season (493 yards with 4.6 ypc). I also think we could see a bit more of Redding being used as a target out of the backfield as a weapon to turn screen passes into 10-15 yard gains.
The Hoosier Huddle countdown continues tomorrow with a double-dip of #33. Come back daily to read (and comment on) all of our preseason coverage. We’ll continue to provide you with game previews, throwback recaps, recruiting coverage and our Top 5 opposition pieces.