Written By TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
The Hoosier Huddle Season Countdown is now chugging along as we hit #95. Join us each day for our 100-day countdown to the opener! Today, we take a look at a redshirt freshman that is expected to contribute as a member of new D-line coach Mark Hagen’s front four: Brandon Wilson.
-Weight: 265 pounds
-Hometown: Winter Garden, Florida
-Position: Defensive End
Brandon Wilson, a defensive lineman from Winter Garden, Florida, chose IU over offers from Wisconsin, Mississippi State, North Carolina and others. He came to Bloomington as a member of the 2015 class and is another example of the success the Hoosiers coaching staff is having in the Sunshine State. He was rated as a 3-star recruit (50th best defensive end) and was seen as a good fit for the “Bandit” position in Brian Knorr’s system. That position was well-stocked with talent and Kevin Wilson opted to redshirt Brandon Wilson in his first year on campus. During the 2015 season, Wilson excelled on the scout team and won Scout Team Player of the Week on two occasions. Following the season, Brian Knorr was fired and replaced by Tom Allen. Allen’s appointment means the departure of the “Bandit” position and leaves some mystery surrounding the immediate future of Brandon Wilson and his playing time.
The most logical fit for Wilson would seem to be the “Bull” position as an end on the four-man front in Tom Allen’s 4-2-5 formation. The defensive ends for Tom Allen’s previous defense (South Florida) were between 6’3”-6’5” and 260-275 pounds. That profile perfectly fits Brandon Wilson as he has added roughly 10-15 pounds since arriving on campus last season. He showed some good athleticism and explosiveness in his high school tapes and he clearly displayed some ability on the Scout Team last week. Jacob Robinson appears penciled in as one of the defensive end starters but the other starting spot will probably come down to a four-way battle between Wilson, Greg Gooch, Nile Sykes and true freshman Allen Stallings. Wilson is a little taller and longer than either of the two converted Bandits and he’s bigger than Stallings but he has no game experience and his ability to convert the physical tools into production is unknown. I think it’s clear the Hoosiers will need to play multiple guys along the defensive line and Wilson will certainly be a part of that rotation. Generating pass rush is a concern for this defense and how much Wilson factors into IU’s 2016 plans is going to depend on how well he can translate his length and athleticism into sacks.
Share your thoughts and expectations for Brandon Wilson and the 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!