Redshirt Preview: DL Brandon Wilson

Written By T.J. Inman

We at Hoosier Huddle thought it would be beneficial to take a look at each of the redshirt freshmen that didn’t see any game action during the 2015 season. Next on our list: a potentially critical piece of Tom Allen’s defense, Brandon Wilson.

Brandon Wilson
6’4”/252 lbs./DE from Winter Garden, FL.

The Indiana coaching staff has had a lot of success recruiting the Sunshine State and they hope Brandon Wilson, a defensive end from Winter Garden, Florida, will be the next success story from down South. Wilson committed to the Hoosiers as a member of the 2015 recruiting class and he chose IU over offers from Wisconsin, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Virginia. He was rated as the 50th best defensive end in the country and was considered a 3-star recruit that was a good fit for IU’s Bandit position. However, Brian Knorr’s 3-4 defense is no more and the Bandit position is no longer an option for Wilson. While we can’t be sure about his future position, adding some bulk and converting to a “Bull” defensive end makes the most sense and Wilson may be relied upon immediately.

Why Did He Redshirt?

The Hoosiers had a lot of experience and talent ahead of Wilson and redshirting him made perfect sense. Zach Shaw saw the bulk of snaps and several others were in line ahead of Wilson at Bandit (including Greg Gooch and Nile Sykes) and defensive end (Jacob Robinson). 

What Can We Expect in 2016 and Beyond?

This section has been very difficult for us to project if we are writing about a defensive player. The formation is going to be new to IU and unique to the B1G. As a result, we aren’t entirely sure what Tom Allen is going to want from his linebackers or from his Bull defensive ends. While it’s far from exact to compare personnel, I took a look at last season’s South Florida defense to determine the size of the defensive ends that played last year for Tom Allen (with good results). Eric Lee was the top defensive end, garnering 12 tackles for loss and five sacks (tied for the team lead with defensive back Jamie Byrd). Lee measures at 6’3” and 260 pounds.  Other contributing ends were Demetrius Hill (6’3”, 270 pounds), Daniel Awoleke (6’5”, 283 pounds) and Kevin Bronson (6’4”, 271 pounds). So, based on last season’s South Florida players, the defensive ends should be between 6’3”-6’5” and should weigh somewhere around 260-275 pounds. Again, this is far from an exact science since the sample size is so small but it gives us a very basic idea of what Allen is looking for from his ends. He was only 252 pounds last season so Brandon Wilson needs to add 10-15 pounds of bulk but his length, height and quickness make him a very intriguing fit for one of the defensive end positions. I really like the athleticism that Wilson’s high school tape showed and he was excelled as the scout team player of the week on two occasions during the 2015 season so I think the physical tools are apparent. 

Jacob Robinson was outstanding during his high school career at Westfield High School and he contributed and showed flashes during his true freshman season in Bloomington in 2015 (he saw snaps in all 13 games). I believe he is penciled in as a starter for one of the defensive end positions. The other starter in this new four-man front is a mystery with each candidate being converted Bandit linebackers (Nile Sykes and Greg Gooch) and/or unproven commodities. Sykes and Gooch are both only 6’2” and they don’t appear to have the length or quickness that Wilson possesses. Another redshirt freshman, Joe Belden, will likely find himself in the rotation as well. While I expect all of these players to see playing time, I think Brandon Wilson is going to get the first crack at starting along the defensive line with Ralph Green, Nate Hoff and Jacob Robinson.