In November of last year, then-redshirt junior linebacker Dameon Willis was honored on Senior Day at Indiana as he had decided he was going to end his playing career. Six months later, there’s a public acknowledgment of an about-face.
According to HoosierSportsReport.com, IU head coach Tom Allen confirmed this week that Harris had undergone a change of heart and will return to the Hoosiers for the 2018 season. The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
According to his coach, the toll the sport had taken on Willis’ body physically led to the initial decision to step away from the game.
“He was kind of beat up and now that he’s had some time to heal, he’s going to be back with us,” Allen said. “I think that’s huge. He is our most experienced linebacker coming back.”
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2014, Willis played in 35 games the past three seasons. He started three of those contests — one in 2016, two this past season.
In 2017, he was credited with a career-high 27 tackles, including a career-high seven in a start against Michigan State.
Former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory, 82, has passed away. Mallory passed away after not improving from brain surgery this week. Mallory was Indiana’s all-time winningest college football coach and also coached at Miami Ohio, Colorado, and Northern Illinois.
Mallory had to undergo brain surgery this week after falling on Tuesday. After no improvement following surgery, Mallory was placed in hospice care on Thursday. His son, current Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory, announced the medical updates via Twitter.
Mallory began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1960. After five seasons with the program, Mallory took on an assistant coaching job at Yale in 1965 and then Ohio State in 1966 under Woody Hayes. Mallory soon became the head coach at Miami Ohio in 1969 and went on to coach at Colorado and Northern Illinois before wrapping up his coaching career with the Hoosiers from 1984 through 1996. After going 0-11 in his first year in Bloomington, Mallory improved the program and took Indiana to six bowl games in eight years. Indiana finished ranked in the top 25 in 1988 for the first time since Lee Corso did so in 1979. Mallory’s 68 wins at Indiana remain the most in school history, as do his two bowl victories.
Following a loss to Michigan State in 1987, with the winner taking a trip to the Rose Bowl, Mallory entered the Michigan State locker room for one of his signature moments.
The reported addition to Indiana’s roster has officially come to fruition.
Tuesday morning, IU confirmed that Kayton Samuels has decided to transfer to the university and will play his football for the Hoosiers. The defensive tackle is set to graduate from Syracuse May 12, and will join the team shortly thereafter.
As a graduate transfer, Samuels will be eligible to play immediately in 2018, his final season of eligibility.
“Kayton is a big body in the middle who immediately shores up our defense,” head coach Tom Allen said in quotes distributed by the school. “He brings a lot of experience with his 24 starts in the ACC. We are pleased to welcome him into our program.”
Samuels announced his decision to transfer from the Orange in mid-December.
In 34 career games for the ACC school, Samuels was credited with 44 tackles, 4.5 of which were for a loss, as well as a fumble recovery. Of those 34 appearances, Samuels started in a dozen of them — seven in 2017, five the year before.
If a coach gets news on a random Sunday in the offseason, usually it’s nothing positive and typically involves a player arrest. That is not the case for Tom Allen on this week however.
That’s because Syracuse defensive tackle Kayton Samuels made it official and confirmed on his Instagram and Twitter accounts that he would be joining the Hoosiers football team as a graduate transfer.
Samuels, who runs 6-foot, 319 pounds, had started 24 games during his three seasons with the Orange. While he was set to be a rotation player for the team in 2018 but it seems it would have been behind likely starter McKinley Williams at the defensive tackle spot, which might have contributed to the transfer out of the program and away from a staff that didn’t recruit him.
As a graduate transfer, Samuels will be eligible right away in Bloomington and will help solidify some depth at the position in addition to competing for a starting job. Amazingly, he becomes the sixth player to transfer out of upstate New York this offseason and follows Rodney Williams (to Temple) out the door this past week.
Not long after adding one quarterback, Indiana has, understandably, lost another.
On April 11, IU officially announced that Arizona graduate transfer quarterback Brandon Dawkins had signed with the football program. Nearly three weeks later, fellow signal-caller Nick Tronti announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer from the Hoosiers and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.
“I am now exploring all of my options to continue to chase my football dreams,” Tronti wrote. “I wish [head coach Tom Allen] and the entire IU football program the best.”
Tronti was a three-star 2017 signee who was rated as the No. 30 dual-threat quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Interestingly, Tronti’s only other Power Five scholarship offer came from… Arizona.
He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season, but was named as the Hoosiers’ Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year.
This summer, Dawkins will join a quarterback fray that includes true freshman Michael Penix and redshirt sophomore Peyton Ramsey battling for the starting job. At best, Tronti would’ve been the No. 4 quarterback heading into summer camp.