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Indiana football 2023 position preview: Linebacker

Finally, some good news.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Media Day Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been keeping up with this series of position previews, you may have noticed a trend: there are A Lot of new faces.

This could turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing. Indiana has not won very many games in the last two seasons, so there’s some logic to going for a full roster reset to try to replenish talent and rebuild the culture.

On the other hand, Indiana has lost a lot of players that made the last two seasons interesting at points, some to the NFL and some to the portal. For the second straight season, Indiana sent one of its linebackers to the NFL when Cam Jones signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent.

Luckily for Tom Allen, he’s still returning his leading tackler from last year in Aaron Casey. He’s also surrounded him with some guys from the portal and last year’s roster who have meaningful Power Five football experience.

Before getting into who might start, let’s take a look at who the Hoosiers have:

Returners (Contributors)

  • R-Sr Aaron Casey
  • R-Sr Jared Casey
  • R-So Matt Hohlt

Returners (Unknown)

  • R-So Kaiden Turner
  • R-So Isaiah Jones


  • R-Sr Jacob Mangum-Farrar (Transfer from Stanford)
  • Sr Darryl Minor (Transfer from UTEP)
  • Sr Joshua Rudolph (Transfer from Austin Peay)

After leading the team in tackles last season and being named an honorable mention to the media All-Big Ten team, it’s safe to assume that Aaron Casey will be one of Indiana’s starting linebackers this season. He has appeared in every game since his freshman season in 2019 and started every game in 2022 before missing the Purdue game with injury.

Casey will no doubt be the heart and soul of the defense next year, as Cam Jones and Micah McFadden were before him. So long as he stays healthy, he should be able to at least match last year’s 85 tackles and 1.5 sacks. This is the kind of stability Tom Allen needs to right the ship this year.

I would expect the other starter to be Jacob Mangum-Farrar, who started seven of nine games for Stanford last season as well as seeing regular action in 11 games in 2021. Players like him don’t usually leave their respective schools unless they want more playing time, and Mangum-Farrar has the stats to back it up.

Last season for the Cardinals he finished the season with 45 tackles and a forced fumble, including a ten tackle game against Notre Dame in October. With him starting alongside Aaron Casey, Allen will have two guys with multiple seasons of experience at the highest levels of college football.

Matt Hohlt, who played in 10 games last year for Indiana, also gives Indiana the kind of experienced depth it will need to weather the storm of one of its final seasons in the Big Ten East. He finished the year with 19 tackles and saw important minutes in Indiana’s games against Ohio State and Penn State last year.

Jared Casey will be another nice depth piece for the Hoosiers after tallying 18 tackles and .5 tackles for loss in the 2022 season. Casey joined Indiana in 2022 after having spent a few seasons with Kentucky, so hopefully another year in the system will help him play a bigger role this year as a backup.

Kaiden Turner and Isaiah Jones are also interesting pieces, as they both saw action at significant points in their redshirt freshmen seasons last year. Turner had an impressive nine tackle game against Purdue and even made a start in one of his four appearances last year.

Jones also recorded stats against Ohio State and Penn State, which means he shouldn’t be too afraid of the moment if injuries force him to take on a bigger than anticipated role this season.

Overall, the linebacker group at the heart of Tom Allen’s defense is probably the best reason to be optimistic about the upcoming 2023 campaign. He has a history of developing pros at the position and will have multiple guys that know what it takes to win in college football at his disposal.