Countdown to Kickoff: 56 Days (Nick Mangieri)

 Defensive End Nick Mangieri is last season's heartbreaking loss against Bowling Green. The play of the Illinois native will be critical if the Hoosiers defensive is to take some steps forward this fall. Photo Credit - Andrew Weber - USA TODAY

Defensive End Nick Mangieri is last season's heartbreaking loss against Bowling Green. The play of the Illinois native will be critical if the Hoosiers defensive is to take some steps forward this fall. Photo Credit - Andrew Weber - USA TODAY

Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)

Two months, eight weeks, or 56 days, phrase it however you would like, but September 5 is quickly approaching and with it, Indiana’s first game of the season against Southern Illinois. The team will be coming off a grueling four weeks of fall camp when that day arrives and they will be ready to take out some of that pent up frustration on an opponent. Today, we will be taking a look at a senior member of the defensive line, number 56, Nick Mangieri.

After spending last season at bandit, the Illinois native finds himself back at defensive end, a position he is quite accustomed to playing. This move was prompted in effort to get the best 11 guys out on the field at once and with the graduation of the team's sack leader Bobby Richardson, there was a hole at defensive end that the coaching staff felt Mangieri could fill. Also, because his backup at bandit last year Zach Shaw played so well, the coaching staff was even more at ease making the change. 

In preparation for the move back to the defensive line, Mangieri focused on adding some size to his 6'5" frame, putting on ten pounds during the Hoosiers' offseason winter conditioning program, now coming in at 270-pounds.

During the spring Wilson discussed the position change, saying,  "We got some good depth there (speaking of the Bandit position)... and he's (Mangieri) kind of a rush, he's gotten a little bigger and stronger, he is a veteran. He does need to continue to gain some...we're going to play a little bit more of a two deep, three deep there and just thought he would help the team more."  

Mangieri played his prep ball at Dunlap High School in Peoria, Ill., seeing action at both defensive end and tight end. During his senior season he made 110 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception. On offense he added 47 receptions for 682 yards and five touchdowns. The Eagles' team captain picked up numerous accolades for his efforts, including all-state, all-area and all-conference selections.  

During his first three seasons with the Hoosiers he's played in 34 games, starting in 22. His career stats include 75 tackles,  five sacks, nine tackles for a loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble and seven pass breakups. Additionally, he's been an Academic All-Big Ten selection during both his sophomore and junior seasons.  

Future Outlook

Entering what should be his final season with the Hoosiers barring the unforeseen, few players will be more important to the defense's performance than he. With the youth movement going on in the secondary, getting a consistent pass rush is absolutely critical when attempting to mask the team's inexperience on the back end. Beyond his efforts on the gridiron, his excellence in the classroom will have earned him a degree from the Kelley School of Business, providing him with a plethora of opportunities when his football career comes to a close.