Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
We are getting very close now…the smell of the grill, the feel of a crisp fall morning as the sun rises and spreads orange light over the dewy ground, can you feel it? No? You can’t? Yeah, me neither. It’s still pretty hot and steamy and doesn’t exactly feel like football season is upon but trust me, it’s coming. Just look at our countdown, we have only 16 days left! We know you are hungry for some football so we have a double dose of the countdown as we look at both Rashard Fant and Donavan Hale.
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 175 pounds
- Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia/Our Lady of Mercy High School
- Year/Position: RS Sophomore/DB
- Let’s start on the defensive side of the ball and focus on a player hoping to excel at a position that has long been a thorn in the Hoosiers side. Rashard Fant, a redshirt sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, came to IU after a prolific career at Our Lady of Mercy High School. The skilled corner garnered multiple accolades while in high school, including: three-time all-state player, named the team’s offensive and special teams player of the year twice, named to the 2013 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, rated the number 14 athlete by ESPN.com. In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, Fant played basketball for three years and ran track for one year. He still holds the school record for most career touchdowns (63) and all-purpose yards and ran a blazing 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. Fant committed to IU in 2012 despite offers from Florida State, Ole Miss, Utah and others.
The coaching staff decided to redshirt Fant during the 2013 season so he made his debut during the 2014 season and contributed with 23 tackles, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery. He had three tackles against Iowa, Michigan State and Rutgers, played in all 12 games and was tied for second in the B1G among all freshmen for pass breakups.
After the graduation of Tim Bennett and the departure of Michael Hunter Jr., Rashard Fant is expected to be one of the starting corners when IU opens the season against Southern Illinois. This is going to be a very young secondary. In fact, Chase Dutra is the only member of the secondary that is going to enter 2015 with significant playing time under his belt. Their won’t be much time to adjust to the bright lights as the high-powered offense of Western Kentucky rolls into Bloomington in Week 3. Here’s to hoping Fant and the rest of the secondary is ready to step into the fire.
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 205 lbs.
- Hometown: Largo, FL./Largo High School
- Year/Position: Freshman/ATH
Donavan Hale is one of the more intriguing members of the incoming recruiting class. The 6’4” Florida native was a two-sport star at Largo High School as he excelled at both football and basketball. During his senior season with the Largo Packers, Hale threw for 1,488 yards and nine touchdowns. He also ran for 224 yards with five touchdowns. His highlight tape displayed good arm strength and his athleticism allows him to extend plays with his legs. IU’s coaches like him well enough to give him a shot at quarterback as he has been working out with the Hoosier QBs in the ongoing fall practices.
Hale chose IU over offers from Louisville, Minnesota, Syracuse and Wisconsin and was considered to be a nice get when he committed on December 18, 2014. There were plenty of theories about where Hale would end up playing (wide receiver, tight end, safety, linebacker) but it certainly appears that he will first be tried at quarterback to give IU some depth and some flexibility to redshirt a couple of players at the position. In addition to playing football, Donavan Hale has considered walking on as a member of the IU basketball team. Tom Crean’s Hoosiers are expected to be a Top 15 squad but they would gladly welcome a 6’4” wing that was a Top 25 basketball recruit in the state of Florida. Where Hale ends up on the football field is going to be interesting to watch. If he stays at QB, can he develop into a starting-caliber passer for the Hoosiers once Nate Sudfeld moves on? The career development of the athletic player from the Sunshine State will certainly be something to keep an eye on as we look to the future.
The Hoosier Huddle Countdown is nearing its conclusion (if this is a rainbow, we are getting close to the pot of gold that is the football season!). Come back tomorrow for #15 and check back often for our continued excellent preseason coverage.