Written By Sammy Jacobs
Well the summer is flying by. We have already crusied through our Top Five on the offensive side of the ball. Today, we will start looking at the defenses that the Hoosiers will face, beginning with the top five cornerbacks. So without further ado here are the five best corners that are on IU’s schedule this season.
1. Jourdin Lewis, Michigan
Lewis is the best corner not named Desmond King in the Big Ten. At 5’10”, Lewis has good size for a corner and will be matched up against the Hoosiers’ number one receiver when the teams faceoff in November. Lewis set the Michigan record for pass breakups last season with 23. He also added 52 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and two interceptions. His numbers are not that gaudy as teams tried to throw away from Lewis as much as possible.
2. Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Conley has big shoes to fill as Ohio State’s number one corner now that Eli Apple will be in Giant blue this fall. Copeland is a six-foot junior who has lots of game experience under his belt. Last season he started all 13 games after playing in 15 as a freshman. He finished with 49 total tackles with five pass break ups and two interceptions. Conley will be counted upon to shore up and lead a very inexperienced secondary in 2016.
3. William Likely, Maryland
Likely might be known more for his explosiveness in the return game, but he is a pretty darn good corner as well. Likely, is only 5’7” but he has the athleticism and instincts to still be a top corner in the Big Ten. When he faced Indiana last year, he was beat up at the end of a disappointing season and it showed as the Hoosier offense put up 47 points and had their way through the air. Likely made more of an impact on special teams last season and finished the year with 44 tackles, four tackles for a loss, 11 pass breakups and zero interceptions. Statistically, it was not a great year for Likely, but he has the credentials and the skills to make his presence known in 2016.
4. Brad Watson, Wake Forest
We go outside the Big Ten for our next corner, as Wake Forest senior Brad Watson comes in at number four. Watson plays the boundary corner in Wake’s scheme and has been an impact player since he arrived in Winston-Salem. In 36 career games, Watson has racked up 98 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, and two picks. Watson leads an experienced back end of a defense that played pretty well against the Hoosiers last season. He earned honorable mention All-ACC last season for his 72-tackle performance.
5. Mathew Harris, Northwestern
Harris led the Wildcats with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups and added 48 tackles on his way to a third team All-Big Ten selection in 2015. As a senior, Harris is looking for more. He has great ball skills and at 5’11, he can matchup with any receiver in the Big Ten. Harris shores up the back end of a very good Northwestern defense and will make life difficult for any Indiana quarterback.