Written By Avery Jones
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. Omari Stringer is the next redshirt freshman we’ll take under the microscope in this new regular feature: The Redshirts Are Coming!
6’4”/ 218 lbs/ LB from Crete, IL
Omari Stringer is an outside linebacker from Crete, Illinois. He was ranked a three-star prospect and the 34th top prospect in the state by 247Sports. He was ranked the 16th top prospect by Rivals.com. In high school, Stringer played defensive back for coach John Konecki. He was named to the 2014 All-State and All-Conference selection his senior year, as well as being apart of the 2012 Class 6A state championship team. Stringer had 15 college offers including Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, and Minnesota. On June 30th of 2014, he committed to Indiana University.
WHY DID HE REDSHIRT?
Coming into last season, Stringer’s biggest weakness as a linebacker was size— particularly weight, weighing in at 205 pounds but standing tall at 6’4”. Stringer has managed to put on some bulk in the weight room this past season while being redshirted which could help him earn an appearance this upcoming season. Another key reason Stringer redshirted last season was due to the upperclassmen that the team already had in the defensive lineup including standouts TJ Simmons (2), Tegray Scales (8), Clyde Newton (41), Marcus Oliver (44), and Nick Mangieri (56). These five were significant players in the IU defense and all but Mangieri will be back next season. There were several other upperclassmen that we saw come in and out of the defensive lineup throughout the season and Stringer will soon be added to this list.
Stringer was originally projected to play the position of “Bandit,” responsible for rushing the quarterback. However, since the addition of Tom Allen to the IU defensive coaching staff and his new defensive lineup, that spot no longer exists. Instead Stringer will most likely be put at outside linebacker, which essentially has similar goals. He’s an all-around great athlete and strong tackler so there’s no doubt he has the capability at being productive on the outside if he has the strength to fight against opponents’ offensive linemen.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM 2016 AND BEYOND?
Although we will see the return of several stud players on the defense, there are still opportunities for Stringer, as well as other freshmen and redshirted freshmen to make impacts. With the new defensive lineup, the number of linebackers will decrease while the linemen and secondary positions will increase. I don’t see Stringer being moved up to the line, but he could potentially be put in a secondary position (Husky) if he doesn’t excel as a linebacker. Stringer has experience playing safety in high school and due to his tall and thin frame, that may be a better fit. Either way, Stringer will add depth to the defense which is exactly what the team needs in order to strengthen all of the players and improve IU’s struggling defense. Last season the defense ranked 120th of 128 teams in total defense in the NCAA Division 1. Bringing up young, stronger players even if they don’t play immediately will increase the competitiveness of the defensive positions and ultimately improve the defense’s overall performance. Whether or not Stringer sees a lot of action in the coming season, he will still have a significant impact on the other players and on the team as a whole.