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Running it back: Whole bunch of Hoosiers announce plans to return in 2021 (Updated)

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Indiana’s defense received some good news on Tuesday

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 UConn at Indiana
IU’s Marcelino Ball awaits the snap during a game against Connecticut on Sept. 21, 2019
Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

(Editor’s note: update at bottom)

Marcelino Ball-McCrary is coming back. So, too, is Michael Ziemba. And don’t forget about Raheem Layne and Khameron Taylor, either.

All four have opted in for Senior Year 2.0.

Ball-McCrary, Ziemba, Layne and Taylor each announced Tuesday that they will return for the 2021 season, taking advantage of an NCAA ruling that paused the eligibility clock for athletes this fall. That means any senior who wishes to return may do so and not count against a program’s scholarship limit.

Three of the four players who made their decisions public Tuesday did not play this past season. Ball-McCrary, a two-time All-Big Ten honoree at Husky, suffered an ACL tear during IU’s second fall camp in September. Layne, who moved from corner to safety during spring practice, underwent a medical procedure to treat an undisclosed injury in October. Taylor, a graduate transfer tight end from South Alabama, was sidelined due to what he tweeted were “some unfortunate circumstances” this fall.

Ziemba, meanwhile, was once again a regular in IU’s rotation of defensive linemen in 2020, posting four tackles in the loss at Ohio State in November. The Florida native also had two tackles each in wins over Penn State and Wisconsin.

This is all good news for Indiana, which is on track to once again have a loaded secondary in 2021.

And more good news could be coming in the near future.

Defensive lineman Jovan Swann tweeted on Sunday that he’s still interested in playing, though it doesn’t appear that his return to IU has yet been confirmed. Whop Philyor tweeted “decisions decisions decisions” on Monday afternoon, and while that could obviously mean any number of things, one could surmise that he’s also considering a return.

A decision from senior center Harry Crider is also expected soon.

(Update: 5:25 p.m.)

Add another to the list. Guard Mackenzie Nworah announced Tuesday evening that he’ll also return in 2021. Nworah started at right guard six times this past season.