Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
I’ve often felt that redshirt freshmen are the forgotten members of a football team. Many fans (myself included) read up on high school seniors when they sign with the Indiana Hoosiers and then wait for those players to make an impact on the field. If the recruit ends up redshirting during his first year on campus, it can be difficult to remember him when it comes time to preview the coming football season. What does the player offer? If he came in as an athlete, what position is he going to play after practicing for a full year? How does he fit in on the depth chart? How much progress has there been in his game during his time away from the watchful eyes of fans?
We at Hoosier Huddle thought it would be beneficial to take a look at each of the redshirt freshmen that didn’t see any game action during the 2015 season. Raekwon Jones is the next redshirt freshman we’ll take under the microscope in this new regular feature: The Redshirts Are Coming!
6’2”/218 lbs/LB Lynn Haven, FL
Reakwon Jones was recruited to Indiana as part of the 2015 signing class as a three-star inside linebacker from Lynn Haven, Fla. He was a first team Class 5A All-State selection and won the Bay County Defensive Player of the Year when he recorded 124 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, along with two interceptions and six forced fumbles during his senior season in 2014. He led A. Crawford Mosley H.S. to its first postseason appearance since 2006. Last season Jones garnered plenty of praise on the scout team defense winning Scout Team Player of the Week six times.
Why Did He Redshirt?
Indiana’s strength on defense has been its linebacker corp., which was extremely deep with the emergence of Marcus Oliver as a 100-tackle player. Indiana had the luxury of redshirting Jones because they had the likes of Oliver, T.J. Simmons, Clyde Newton, and Tegray Scales among other linebackers.
What Can We Expect in 2016 and Beyond?
Linebacker will again be one of the most talented and deepest positions on the Hoosier football team in 2016; so breaking into the starting lineup will be extremely difficult for the redshirt freshman. Jones will most likely stay put as an inside linebacker seeing that is the position that the Hoosiers recruited him for. He could crack the two-deep and provide quality depth that will allow the defense to have a good rotation of talented players. Jones should also be able to crack the lineup on either kick or punt coverage.
The Hoosiers will need Jones more starting in 2017 when they graduated a number of linebackers including T.J. Simmons and Clyde Newton. Allowing Jones to redshirt and work his way into the lineup should give the Hoosiers a talented and well prepared player at linebacker over the next few years.