There's a compelling argument that despite the loss of Nate Sudfeld, Jordan Howard, and Jason Spriggs to the NFL, Indiana's best offensive player will return to Indiana next season.
Despite a number of high-round draft projections for the guard, All-American Dan Feeney will return to suit up for Kevin Wilson's squad in 2016. After losing possible first-round draft pick and fellow All-American Spriggs, Feeney will anchor an offensive line that was the strength of Indiana's potent offense in 2016.
It's possible Feeney's motivations to return for his senior season might have to do with a possible position change -- to kick out to the valuable left tackle position. While his bread-and-butter has been his run blocking ability in Kevin Wilson's system, interior lineman don't often get the big bucks paid to tackles on draft day.
Here's the full release from Indiana athletics.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana first team All-American offensive lineman Dan Feeney will return to school for his final year of eligibility in 2016, he announced Monday.
"I am excited to continue to be a part of this great program," Feeney said. "Coach Wilson and Coach Frey were extremely valuable during this process and I thank them for their assistance. They are great coaches and have taught me so much both on the field and in life. I look forward to continuing to learn from both of them. I am blessed to have great teammates who are like brothers to me. We are not satisfied and are looking to finish what all the coaches and players have started. With the commitment this university and administration have made to this program, we are ready to reach a new level and can't wait to get started. Go IU!"
Feeney, an ESPN, Associated Press, CBS Sports and SI.com All-America selection, has allowed just one sack in 37 career starts at right guard (2,719 snaps). In 2015, he did not allow a sack in 475 called pass attempts.
The Orland Park, Ill., native finished with a team-best 102 knockdowns in 1,069 snaps. A first team All-Big Ten honoree, Feeney was also an Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award Watch Lister.
"Dan put a lot of time and thought into this decision," head coach Kevin Wilson said. "We are excited he is returning and really like the direction this program is headed. Dan is one of the best players I have ever been around. He is the total package, not only on the field but in the way he approaches the game and who he is as a person. This is a great opportunity for him to continue to grow as a player, teammate and leader, and enhances the value of his football future. By the time he is done, Dan will be one of the best to ever wear an Indiana uniform."
Indiana finished 2015 first in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense, while placing second in rushing offense in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers became the first team since Ohio State in 1995 to lead the league in total, passing and scoring offense.
IU led the Big Ten in scoring offense for the first time since the league began using the entire season as the statistical champion in 1985. Indiana had not led the league in total offense since 1988.
The Hoosiers became the fourth college football team to have a 3,500-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard running backs and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same year. IU was also one of only two Power Five conference teams with two 1,000-yard running backs (Baylor).