Written by: Alex Compton (@alexncompton)
There are now 53 days remaining until the Indiana Hoosiers kick-off the 2016 season in Miami against the Florida International Golden Panthers. Join us each day for each part of our 100-day countdown to the opener! Today is the day to focus on Khalil Bryant who actually will be wearing 23, so here we go!
-Weight: 190 pounds
-Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
While Indiana has certainly been improving since the hiring of Kevin Wilson, the bottomline is that unless the defense improves, the ceiling for the program will likely be 5-to-7 wins each season. However, with optimism surrounding new defensive coordinator Tom Allen in addition to the influx of defensive talent that is now arriving in Bloomington, there is reason to believe that the Hoosiers will no longer be snake bitten by the defense. While 2016 may be spent as a development year, Khalil Bryant is a player that will play a big role in turning the defense around.
Out of First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Bryant found himself rated as a solid three-star prospect according to 247 Sports. Bryant ended up with a total of 8 other offers, including ones from North Carolina, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest. Khalil snagged his Indiana offer in March of 2015, attended camp in June, and commit right after. He then signed on National Signing Day, and is now in Bloomington working out with the team. He didn’t have a ton of interest early on in his recruitment, but gained interest with power conference schools late in the process. IU was one of the first schools to offer Bryant- and it appeared that the interest they showed in him early was an important factor.
By the time the season finally rolls around, I think Bryant will end up redshirting. For the first time in a while, the Hoosier defense has a really good amount of depth on the back end of the defense. With some talented and experienced guys back there, it would make more sense to let Bryant redshirt and develop instead of burning a year of eligibility when he may not see much game action. In the long run, you have to like what Bryant brings to the table. He already possesses great run stopping ability, and big-time athleticism. The likely focus for Bryant in year one (should he redshirt) will be on becoming stronger, and being able to make decisions in the passing game quicker. He got by in high school because he is such a good athlete, but to play safety well at the next level, he will have to learn to anticipate the action much better.
Redshirt or not, Bryant is a nice piece to have in the mix during this defensive revival.
Share any memories or expectations you have of Khalil Bryant as a player in the comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!