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Indiana football: Tom Allen praises his defensive line, receivers against Ohio State

Allen had praise for multiple additions from the transfer portal.

Indiana Hoosiers Donaven McCulley (1) makes a catch against... Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Indiana football left the 2023 offseason having made numerous additions to the defensive line and wide receiver rooms through the transfer portal. Now, after spring ball and fall camp, head coach Tom Allen is pleased with how each group has looked, he said in a press conference Monday.

“I think throughout camp, as you guys have asked and we’ve talked about different positions, I think an area that kind of sticks out numerically is our defensive line and just having some new guys there and the way those guys have performed during camp,” Allen said. “So just excited to see those guys play. I think that’s going to be one of the strengths of our defense.”

Indiana’s transfers in on the defensive line included Arizona State’s Robby Harrison, Texas Tech’s Philip Blidi, Texas A&M’s Marcus Burris Jr. and Western Michigan’s Andre Carter. Returning members include Patrick Lucas Jr. and LeDarrius Cox, among others.

Carter in particular was an impressive addition for the Hoosiers, choosing Indiana over offers from the likes of Auburn, Kansas, Nebraska, Ole Miss and more. He was also named a team captain for 2023, having drawn praise from coaches throughout the program since his arrival.

Expect him to be among the team’s most valuable players and for NFL scouts to have their eye on his performance this season against consistent Power Five competition.

Indiana’s defensive line is in its second year of tutelage under Paul Randolph, who was hired in the 2022 offseason out of Texas Tech. Blidi previously played for Randolph when both were with the Red Raiders.

As for receivers, Allen praised the room’s depth, play from transfers and development from those who were previously on the roster. The group is in its first year under Anthony Tucker, previously the offensive coordinator at Utah State, after Adam Henry was hired by the Buffalo Bills.

“I like that room a lot,” Allen said. “I feel the same way about it and getting those guys through camp and working through injuries. Nothing serious there, but just everybody has pulled things along the way that you work through. Feel good about where we’re at with those guys and those positions.”

Indiana added Clemson’s E.J. Williams and Fordham’s DeQuece Carter through the transfer portal this past offseason. Williams totaled 136 yards across his sophomore and junior seasons with the Tigers after 306 as a freshman while Carter finished 4th all-time in touchdown receptions (31) and third in receiving yardage (3,035) at Fordham.

Additionally, Allen mentioned seeing progress from Donaven McCulley, who was moved to receiver from quarterback last offseason. He ended the 2022 season with 136 receiving yards.

“He’s worked extremely hard this off-season and just being able to be a guy that can make game changing plays, which is what we need on that side of the ball and need to create explosive plays on offense to be able to allow us to move the football and do good things in that regard,” Allen said.