Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
The Hoosier Huddle Countdown rolls on! There are now only 83 days remaining until the 2016 season kicks off in Miami as IU will take on Florida International. Our profile today focuses on a redshirt freshman that has some very enticing potential: tight end Austin Dorris.
Austin Dorris (Redshirt Freshman)
-Weight: 247 pounds
-Hometown: Shadyside, Ohio (Shadyside High School)
-Position: Tight End
Indiana has received some strong tight end play in recent seasons. Guys like Anthony Corsaro, Danny Friend and Michael Cooper have all played a large part in the success the IU running game (and offense as a whole) has experienced under Kevin Wilson thanks to their excellence in the blocking department. However, since the departure of Ted Bolser, the Hoosiers have needed more big-play receptions from this position. Redshirt freshman Austin Dorris has the physical tools to develop into a terrific pass-catching weapon and it is very likely he’s relied upon as a member of the rotation in 2016.
Dorris came to Bloomington after a prolific high school career at Shadyside High School in Ohio. During his time as a Shadyside Tiger, Dorris excelled as a quarterback. He ran for more than 1,400 yards and threw for more than 1,000 yards and a total of 31 touchdowns. His high school highlight film was an exciting display of mobility and athleticism and he didn’t shy from contact, often delivering big blows to foes trying to tackle him. The Hoosiers converted Dorris to tight end and during the 2015 season, he earned “Scout Team Player of the Week” honors for the Michigan game.
Anthony Corsaro and Michael Cooper have both graduated and Brandon Knight, used a tight end in some sets late in his freshman season, will be starting at his natural left tackle position. Those departures leave only two returning tight ends with experience: Danny Friend and Jordan Fuchs. IU is also adding JUCO transfer Ian Thomas and true freshman Shaun Bonner. If Danny Friend can stay healthy, he’s likely to start at tight end. Jordan Fuchs is probably going to be the top receiving tight end when the season begins but he’s not relied upon to be a great blocker and he’s yet to be given the chance to really shine as a weapon in the offense. I believe the plan is to redshirt Shaun Bonner if the group can stay relatively healthy. We don’t really know what to expect from Ian Thomas so he’s a bit of a wild-card but you don’t bring in junior college players to just sit around and do nothing. The coaches are probably counting on him to at least be a part of the rotation. I believe Austin Dorris is likely to see a significant number of snaps as the true backup to Danny Friend. His size could see him used as an extra tight end in jumbo or goal line sets as well. If he can develop as expected, he’ll be the starting tight end during the 2017 season. I believe Austin Dorris has what it takes to be a big part of the IU offense and I think he will have a very nice career in Bloomington.
Share your thoughts or expectations for Austin Dorris and the rest of the tight end unit in our comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!