Countdown to Kickoff: 99 Days (Ben Ishola)

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)


There are now 99 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! No current IU player is wearing #99 so we’ll take a short walk back in time and focus on former Hoosier, Ben Ishola.

Ben Ishola (past Hoosier)

-Height: 6’3”
-Weight: 255 pounds
-Hometown: Berlin, Germany
-Position: Defensive End

Most IU football players come to Bloomington after growing up in places like Ohio or Georgia or Florida. Some have spent their whole lives in the Hoosier state. That was not the case for Ben Ishola. The former defensive end was born in Berlin and spent time in Nigeria as a young child. Instead of playing for a high school, he played for the Berlin Adler American Football Club before eventually donning the Cream and Crimson in 2003. He was recruited by former head coach Gerry DiNardo and appeared in all 12 games in the 2-10 2013 campaign. He then played in 10 games in 2004 and finished the season with 12 solo tackles and two assisted tackles. DiNardo was fired after the 3-8 season and the Hoosiers brought in Terry Hoeppner to energize the program. Ishola teamed with fellow defensive end Victor Adeyanju to form a successful duo during Hoeppner’s first season. He registered 27 total tackles and had a blocked punt against Michigan State as he started all eleven games of his last season in Bloomington. 

Ishola impressed scouts during his pro day workouts and landed a spot with the Miami Dolphins following the 2006 NFL Draft but he was unable to crack their 53-man roster and remained on the practice squad. He returned to Germany as a member of the Hamburg Sea Devils (a team in NFL Europa) and excelled, winning the NFL Europa Defensive Player of the Year award. The standout season gave him a shot with the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals before he eventually played a total of four years in the Canadian Football League. Ishola retired from the game following the 2011 season.

Share any memories or recollections you have of Ben Ishola 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!