Written By Alex Compton
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. DaVondre Love is the next redshirt freshman we’ll take under the microscope in this new regular feature: The Redshirts Are Coming!
6’7”/290 lbs/OL from Saint Louis, MO
DaVondre love came to IU last season out of Saint Louis, Missouri. At the time, he was rated as a three-star prospect and the 22nd best prospect in the state. As a senior in high school, Love was selected to the Class 4 All-State team, and was also selected as his conference’s lineman of the year. He anchored an offensive line that racked up over 3,700 yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground, which lead his team to a 12-1 record. Love also lettered in both wrestling and track and field during his time in high school.
WHY DID HE REDSHIRT?
The strength of last season’s Hoosiers was certainly the offensive line. With an All-American in Jason Spriggs at left tackle and an experienced player at right tackle in Dimitric Camiel, the starting spots at those positions were locked down for the whole season. Besides experience, Love also lacked the quickness to provide any guard depth based on the number of quality players on the team. With other solid options at tackle on the depth chart behind Spriggs and Camiel last season, it made the most sense to spend a year developing Love so he can contribute in 2016 and beyond.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN 2016 AND BEYOND?
As mentioned on our offensive preview podcast, the line figures to be one of IU’s strengths yet again this season. They return 3 starters, and have players with skill and experience ready to step in and contribute. Camiel will certainly play one of the tackle spots again this season, which leaves the other one up for grabs with Spriggs graduating. The likely candidate to fill this spot is sophomore Brandon Knight, but he has yet to play a college snap at tackle and it remains to be seen exactly what he brings to the table. With Knight expected to play the other tackle spot, Love will likely start the year as the third or fourth tackle on the depth chart, and will be battling Tim Gardner and fellow redshirt freshman Simon Stepaniak for those spots.
While the offensive line appears to be set for next year, this does not mean Love can’t contribute. Having depth at every position, especially offensive line, is important for any winning football team. Over the course of 12+ games, you never know what may happen and who may be needed to step up when the time comes. It’s unfortunate, but injuries do happen and having depth at every position is important. Guys will lose their shoes, roll an ankle, or have to catch their breath once in a while, so it is important that the guys behind the starters are ready to roll when their number is called. Love may not play much this season besides on special teams and in those fill-in snaps that were just mentioned, but he still does project as a starter in a few seasons. With a huge frame and a nice set of athletic tools, Love is definitely someone to watch moving forward. While still somewhat raw, having this season to play some light snaps and learn from Feeney and Camiel should make Love a solid player moving forward.
Check Hoosier Huddle often as we continue to preview Spring football and take a look at each member of the 2015 class that will be seeing his first action in 2016.