Bloomington – There will be some new faces on the field next fall for the Hoosiers at wide receiver.
Of course, in with the new doesn’t mean out with the old. All-Big Ten junior Tandon Doss and fellow starters Damarlo Belcher and Terrance Turner figure to be in the starting line-up after combining for 184 catches, 2,175 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall. They’re a trio of wideouts that give IU’s quarterbacks as experienced and talented a group as just about anyone in the Big Ten.
But some new names should surface as contributors as well. Redshirt freshmen Duwyce Wilson and Jamonne Chester, in particular, should have an opportunity to get on the field as a part of the Hoosiers’ rotation at wide receiver.
“We hope to contribute,” said Wilson, the 6’4” Columbus (Ind.) East product who was the Hoosiers’ most highly-regarded recruit in the Hoosiers’ 2009 class. “Whatever they throw at us, we’ll do it.”
The duo had plenty thrown at them last fall, although it came only on the practice field as members of IU’s scout team. While there was a time that the staff toyed with the idea of playing Wilson, ultimately they decided that both players would be better served to remain sidelined and preserve their four years of eligibility.
As is the case for most college freshmen, that was a new experience for the talented duo, neither of whom had grown accustomed to watching from the sidelines during their standout prep careers.
“It was difficult, but you have to go through the motions as it’s a learning process,” said Chester. “You take that time and dedicate yourself to getting better.”
Both did that, and now each appears to be a part of the IU staff’s plan for the fall. Their development – coupled with the progress of others such as Tyler Adetona and Dre Muhammad – made it possible for IU to move Matt Ernest and Mitchell Evans to cornerback and safety, respectively, this spring.
“No question about it - we knew we had some guys that gave us the flexibility of moving Mitchell and seeing how things would work with Matt,” IU Coach Bill Lynch said.
With the door now clearly ajar, both Wilson and Chester plan to do all that they can during IU’s 15 spring practices to make an impression. Wilson continues to show that he’s a deep threat with excellent size and hands, and he appears to be every bit as good as his four-star rating indicated. Chester, meanwhile, is a more physical outside wide receiver has proven to be a capable playmaker as well. Both are currently listed as No. 2s on the depth chart, backing up Belcher and Doss.
If both can maintain their spots on the depth chart, both figure to play a significant role next fall. A season ago Evans caught 33 passes as the team’s fourth wideout, while Ernest added seven catches and a touchdown.
“When our number is called, we have to be ready, just like a starter,” Chester said.
Both of their numbers figure to be called, and Wilson said they’ll be ready to do more than just give the starters a play or two off.
“You wait your turn, and when it comes you know it’s time to step it up,” Wilson said.