Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
The bad news, it's Monday. The good news, it's game week! Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel. Can you see it? Hear it? Your Indiana Football Hoosiers taking the field amid the cheers of tens of thousands this Saturday. Only five days stand between us and the start of Indiana's 2015 season. Coach Wilson and his players have been waiting a long while for this week, an opportunity to shift their attention from the day-to-day and really start focusing on the Southern Illinois Salukis. Today we continue our countdown by taking a look at a couple of athletes who stand south of 6-foot, J-Shun Harris II and Devonte Williams.
J-Shun Harris II
Due to the team's lack of depth at wide receiver last fall, the athlete from Fishers was thrust into action early in the slot. Harris demonstrated during fall camp that he was capable of contributing, impressing his fellow teammates, including former Hoosier wide out, Shane Wynn. In fact, many claimed that Harris possessed a greater grasp of the game coming out of high school than many receivers had before him.
He certainly did not disappoint early on in the season, catching 11 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns during the team's first three games. While he was unable to keep this pace up for the remainder of the season, due partly to the injury to Nate Sudfeld, he was the team's returning receiver with 18 grabs for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Harris suffered an ACL injury in early June, sidelining the electrifying athlete for the entire 2015 season. His loss was a tough pill to swallow, and not just from a production standpoint. Harris possessed a skill that few others in the receiver corp did, an ability to stretch the field vertically and open up things underneath for his fellow teammates.
Losing Harris for the season was a major blow to not only the team's passing game, but also its return game, as he was likely the team's starting punt returning. The good news is that Harris will be 15 months removed from his injury when the 2016 season rolls around, so he should be fully recovered, both physically and mentally by then. One positive that can come from an injury is that he can obtain an even greater grasp of the Hoosiers passing game by watching from the sidelines. He can also impart some wisdom on some of the younger players this fall.
The versatile athlete from Maryland was supposed to be the Hoosiers next big playmaker on offense. However, Coach Wilson and his staff had a different idea for "The Matrix," as he is referred to on the gridiron.
The 5'10", 180-pound athlete excelled at running back for The Bullis School in Potomac, Md. As he senior he recorded 1,899 rushing yards, 18 scores, and made 22 catches, for 354 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He was first team all-state, all-metropolitan and all-conference selection. His career 4,496 rushing yards were best in the history of the program, not too shabby.
It fairly evident as to why so many were excited about his future on the offensive on the ball. However, with all the question marks surrounding the secondary, the coaching staff felt that Williams could have a greater impact, at least this fall at cornerback. From reports, it sounds as if Williams has quickly adapted to his new role and looks like he has worked his way into the two-deep at the position.
Devonte "The Matrix" Williams was an offensive juggernaut in high school, a home run threat every time he touched the pigskin. The Hoosiers are hopeful that he can become just as great a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.