Tevin Coleman

UAB transfer Jordan Howard might miss rest of Indiana’s spring

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Transferring in from UAB this past January, Jordan Howard is being viewed as the heir apparent to All-American Tevin Coleman in Indiana’s backfield.  While that’s still the case, the running back will have an injury hiccup he’ll be forced to overcome first.

While there’s nothing yet official from IU, Brian Bennett of ESPN.com tweeted earlier Tuesday that Howard has been sidelined with an elbow injury.  Just how serious the injury is — it’s believed to be a hyperextension — and whether it will have any impact on the back’s availability for the start of the 2015 season is unknown.

What is known is that Howard will very likely miss the remainder of the Hoosiers’ spring, which is roughly at the halfway point of the 15 sessions.

With Coleman and his 2,036 yards gone early to the NFL, and with D’Angelo Roberts (493) using up his eligibility, the Hoosiers have just 118 returning yards, all of those of which belong to Devine Redding.  That’s why Howard — and his experience — is a very important addition for a football program to become a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten squad.

This past season, and prior to UAB killing its football program, Howard was second in Conference USA and 14th nationally with a school-record 1,587 yards.  His 13 rushing touchdowns were also a school record.  As a true freshman in 2013, he was second on the team in rushing with 881 yards.

Because of the situation that led to Howard’s transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2015.  He’ll be a third-year junior this year, and have two years of eligibility remaining in addition to having a redshirt at his disposal.

2015 could be the year of the running back in college football

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College football has been a game for quarterbacks over the last decade or so, but the 2015 college football season could be a big one for the running backs. The young running backs that have taken the big stage during the 2014 season have shown glimpses of what could be one of the finest seasons for fans of the running game in quite some time.

Just look at some of the names coming back to line up in the back field with authority in 2015.

Now a couple of years removed from the SEC’s best quarterback class in some time, the SEC should be heavy on the run in 2015. The SEC’s leading rusher returning in 2015 will be Georgia’s Nick Chubb for his sophomore season, and LSU freshman Leonard Fournette could also be worthy of striking his Heisman pose. Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and an SEC-leading 14 touchdowns this season, and most of that came while backing up Todd Gurley until he went down to injury. Fournette also rushed for over 1,000 yards, including 143 yards in a bowl game loss against Notre Dame. If you need more running power from the SEC, look no further than Arkansas with sophomore Alex Collins. Collins is coming off a 1,100-yard season with 12 touchdowns and should be a big piece of the offense for Bret Bielema in 2015. If there is one thing Bielema knows how to do, it is run the football. With Collins on the field, Arkansas will do just that. Alabama will look for a big year from  too. Henry was 10 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season but he did rush for 11 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.

Up north, the Big Ten should continue to see plenty of production on the ground. In 2014 the Big Ten running game was the story with Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon earning a nod as Heisman finalist and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah a household name. But the Big Ten also saw great seasons from Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Minnesota’s David Cobb and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford. The Big Ten will lose all of these players to the draft, but there are some talented running backs ready to pick up the steam. Right now there is no hotter name among young running backs than Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, who turned in a postseason run worthy of Mr. January consideration. Wisconsin has Corey Clement ready to be the next running back in line in Madison. Two other sophomores to keep an eye on in the Big Ten will be Michigan’s Derrick Green, who could have a big impact if he bounces back healthy in 2015, and Penn State’s Akeel Lynch if the Nittany Lions firm up on offensive line.

Move just west of Penn State and you may find the best running back in the state with Pittsburgh’s James Conner. The sophomore led the ACC in rushing with 1,765 yards and his 26 touchdowns were twice more than the ACC’s next leading rushing touchdown leader, Boston College’s Jon Hilliman (a freshman). Florida State’s Dalvin Cook could have a huge role in 2015 as well.

Out west it is easy to get caught up in the quarterback action in the Pac-12. This year was certainly the case with players like Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley, but next year could see some big years from running backs as well. Paul Perkins of UCLA led the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,575 yards this season and will be back in 2015. So will Arizona’s Nick Wilson, the conference’s fourth-leading rusher as a freshman, and Oregon’s Royce Freeman. Freeman did not have a great championship game against Ohio State, but he should take on a heavy load without Mariota leading the offense in 2015.

The pass-happy Big 12 is not without some impact running backs in 2015 either. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine led the Big 12 with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman in 2014. Baylor’s Shock Linwood was second in the Big 12  as a sophomore with 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns. West Virginia’s Rushel Shell is also capable of doing some major damage if the Mountaineers have more faith in him.

Quarterbacks will likely remain the face of many programs, but the 2015 season could be a huge season for the running backs.

Hoosiers add transfer Jordan Howard, UAB’s leading rusher

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With Tevin Coleman leaving Indiana early for the NFL, the Hoosiers were facing a rather gaping hole in its running game.  On the first day of the new year, consider that hole at least partially filled.

In a press release, IU announced that Jordan Howard has signed a financial aid agreement with the university and will continue his football career with the Hoosiers.  Because Howard is transferring in from UAB, which disbanded its football program in early December, Howard will be eligible to play immediately in 2015.

The running back will have two years of eligibility remaining, and has yet to use his redshirt season.

“As our season ended, we thought it was likely Tevin Coleman was headed to the NFL,” head coach Kevin Wilson said in a statement. “Jordan instantly became our top target. What happened at UAB is unfortunate for Jordan, his teammates and everyone involved with the program, but this is a perfect match for both sides. We recruited him very, very hard and we are excited he is joining us. The sign of a good program is finding good players to replace good players, and we have done just that.”

In addition to IU, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Boise State, Nevada and Middle Tennessee State were potential landing spots for Howard.

This season, Howard was second in the conference with a school-record 1,587 yards.  His 13 rushing touchdowns were also a school record.  As a true freshman in 2013, he was second on the team in rushing with 881 yards.

When Howard arrives in Bloomington, he’ll see a familiar face as former UAB wide receiver Marqui Hawkins announced three weeks ago that he was transferring to the Hoosiers.

Indiana RB Tevin Coleman entering NFL Draft to chase dream

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Though he may have flown under the shadows cast by Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and the preseason household name of Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Indiana running back Tevin Coleman had a very good season for the Hoosiers. He will not come back for more though, announcing he will enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

“This is my dream,” Coleman told EPSN, according to Joe Schad.

Many NFL Draft analysts believe Coleman will be one of the first running backs off the draft board next spring. In a league that has demphasized the importance of the running back, whether that means Coleman will be a first or second round player remains to be seen, although some suggest he has first round stock.

Coleman was the nation’s second-leading rusher, behind Wisconsin’s Gordon, with 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns. Coleman was essentially the only weapon Indiana ended up having on offense following injury issues at quarterback for Kevin Wilson‘s team.

Mariota, Gordon headline Phil Steele All-America team

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Everyone has an All-America team these days. Heck, now that they’ve got some free time I hear the folks at Serial are going to pump out their own 2014 All-America team next week.

However, in crunching out their own list of 25-odd players, no one crunches more data than Phil Steele. The man is already a quarter of the way through his initial work for the 2015 season.

Anyway, on to current matters, the 2014 Phil Steele All-Americans can be found below. Second through 27th-team All-Americans can be found here.

Offense
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
WR Rashad Greene, Florida State
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL Jake Fisher, Oregon
OL Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa

Defense
LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
LB Scooby Wright, Arizona
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
LB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
DB Gerod Holliman, Louisville
DB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL Malcom Brown, Texas
DL Nate Orchard, Utah
DL Shane Ray, Missouri

Specialists
K Brad Craddock, Maryland
P Tom Hackett, Utah
KR Mario Alford, West Virginia
PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State