The Hoosiers have had talent in the recent years in the pass-catching game, it’s been the throwing part where they have struggled. With the vast majority of the receiving corps backfrom last season, the Hoosiers are remarkably deep, putting more pressure on the quarterbacks to get them the ball.
Players to Watch
Nick Westbrook, redshirt senior - The leader of the wideouts is the most accomplished and one of two fifth-year players that will have a big hand in the passing game this season out wide. Westbrook was the top wideout last season but his numbers point to just how bad the passing game was as he finished with under 600 yards. For many reasons, it’ll be imperative for Indiana to get Westbrook the ball this season.
Donovan Hale, redshirt senior - Hale has slid under the radar during his time at Indiana but will likely line up opposite Westbrook this season out wide, giving Indiana two huge targets with Hale standing at 6’4” and Westbrook at 6’3”. Last season, Hale was the only other receiver with at least 500 yards along with Westbrook and led the team in touchdowns.
Whop Philyor, junior - On top of having an incredible name, Philyor will likely start the season in the slot, giving Indiana an incredibly experienced set of wideouts. Philyor will have big shoes to fill as Luke Timian led the team in receptions last year and, if Indiana’s limitations in the passing game continue, Philyor will be highly-targeted.
Peyton Hendershot, redshirt sophomore - In recent years, Indiana hasn’t used tight ends much in the passing game (we miss you Ted Bolser). This season, Hendershot is the only tight end on the roster with more than two years experience on campus. A new-look offense could see more action in the passing game for Hendershot.
Battle to Watch
There won’t be many battles to monitor this season. Hale and Westbrook have the outside receiver spots locked down barring injuries on special teams. Philyor likely has the slot spot secured but Ty Fryfogle could make his way in there. Whether he starts or not, he’ll be featured in the offense regardless.
The only other potential starting spot that could be up for grabs is the tight end spot. It would take a heck of an upset, though, for Hendershot to not be the starter on opening day. In reality, there shouldn’t be much surprise in the passing game this year.