Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
The Hoosier Huddle Countdown is more than halfway and we are now only 48 days until our Hoosiers kick-off the 2016 season against Florida International. Today, the countdown focuses on a player whose role has likely changed substantially since he was recruited out of Crete, Illinois: Omari Stringer.
-Hometown: Crete, Illinois (Crete-Monee High School)
-Position: Defensive Line
It’s not often that a player finishes his high school career as a defensive back and begins his college career on the defensive line. That may end up being the case for IU redshirt freshman Omari Stringer though. Stringer came to Indiana after a successful high school career at Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Illinois. He played defensive back and was named to the 2014 All-State squad as a senior. He was a sophomore on a state title squad in 2012 and his play earned him a three-star rating and scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and several others. Stringer committed to Indiana on June 30th of 2014 and it was assumed he would redshirt a season to add weight and strength before contributing as a “bandit” linebacker. Stringer did redshirt and he earned “Scout Team Player of the Week” honors for his work leading up to the Wake Forest game. However, after his redshirt season, his role was thrown into question as IU moved on from defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and brought in new DC Tom Allen and his 4-2-5 defense. The “bandit” position no longer exists and Stringer is now listed on IU’s roster as a defensive linemen.
It’s not entirely clear where Stringer fits because he is still listed at only 219 pounds, which is very light for a defensive lineman. However, it appears the Hoosiers are carving out a role that could suit the athletic and speedy Stringer quite well: rush defensive end. Let’s make this clear, the redshirt freshman from Illinois will need to continue to gain weight and add bulk to his 6’4” frame for this to ultimately be a landing spot he can excel at (ideally, he reaches at least 240 pounds and doesn’t lose explosiveness). That being said, Stringer’s height and length could make for a very good rangy pass rusher that could be used in obvious passing situations. His quickness will be tough for tackles to deal with and he could also drop from the end position to cover backs on screen passes. As far as playing time in 2016 goes, Stringer is likely behind Jacob Robinson and Brandon Wilson (for comparisons sake, those two are 6’4”/277 and 6’3”/265) and no other lineman on the roster is listed as weighing less than 239 pounds. If he can add ten pounds or so before the season begins, he could be used as an extra rush end in obvious passing downs in 2016 and give Tom Allen a unique weapon to generate pass rush. It’s no secret that IU needs to improve its pass defense. One of the best ways to do that (and to improve your defense as a whole) is to put pressure on the opposing quarterback and Omari Stringer could help the Hoosiers in that regard.
Share your thoughts or expectations for Omari Stringer, what you think his role will be and the rest of the IU defensive line in our comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!