Next Man Up: Analyzing Replacements for Indiana Football's Departures

With seven key pieces not returning to Indiana next season, we analyze who their replacements could be in 2021.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Head coach Tom Allen says it over and over again throughout the course of the season: Next man up.

Whether it's an injury or a transfer or players declaring for the NFL, Allen expects to have players ready to fill the roles that are left empty.

For the 2021 season, Indiana will be returning a majority of its roster, but some of Indiana's best players have already declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

There are currently seven players who have decided to move on and pursue their dreams of playing football professionally. With those departures, we take a look at who on Indiana's roster can fill in next season.

Whop Philyor

What he did: Philyor had an impressive career at Indiana. In his final game as a Hoosier, he broke an Outback Bowl and Indiana school record with the most receptions in a single game with 18 catches. He was a very reliable receiver throughout his entire career.

Replacement: Florida State transfer D.J. Matthews will be a good option to replace Philyor's role on Indiana's team.

With Ty Fryfogle and Miles Marshall both returning next season, Indiana doesn't have too much of a drop-off at the receiver position with Philyor's departure.

Matthews is coming in as an experienced player from Florida State, who is a speedy, smaller receiver that can play in the slot like Philyor and also return punts.

Two other receivers who could fill the void left by Philyor are Javon Swinton and Jacolby Hewitt, who both had nice moments during the 2020 season.

Stevie Scott

What he did: In three years at Indiana, Scott rushed for 10 touchdowns in each season, so 30 touchdowns in total. He ranks No. 4 all-time in touchdowns scored at Indiana and his 2,543 career rushing yards rank ninth all-time.

Replacement: Sampson James and Tim Baldwin Jr. are the two backs who will have to carry the load in place of Scott next season.

Over the last two seasons, Scott has played over 50% of the snaps at running back for Indiana. He got nearly 70% of the carries in 2020.

This upcoming season will be James' third with the program, and he has shown spurts of what he can do in the backfield. As for Baldwin, he had a really nice game against Maryland, which was a bright sight for his future.

Indiana will likely also continue to use David Ellis in the backfield.

It should be noted Indiana's running backs coach from the last few seasons, Mike Hart, has left the program to take a job at his alma mater at Michigan.

Harry Crider

What he did: Crider broke into the starting lineup in 2019 when he moved to left guard, and then in 2020, Crider was the starting center for the Hoosiers. He was also highly regarded as one of the team's leaders up front.

Replacement: Indiana has a number of options here only because it's likely the Hoosiers switch some pieces around heading into the 2021 season.

Indiana got major contributions from Dylan Powell and Mike Katic last season. They both rotated at right guard in 2020, but may be asked to slide over to center this year.

Indiana is also adding a transfer from Michigan in Zach Carpenter, so he will be able to help out and be placed where need be.

Then there are some younger players. Charlie O’Connor was Crider's backup a season ago, and Cam Knight, the brother of former Indiana tackle Brandon Knight, has also had high expectations placed on him as he develops with Indiana.

Jamar Johnson

What he did: Johnson had four interceptions last season and was second on the team with 43 tackles. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season as well. He was a vital part of Indiana's secondary.

Replacement: There's a lot of options to slide over to Johnson's role at safety. First and foremost, there's the experienced Raheem Layne, who didn't play at all last season due to injury.

Allen has a lot of high hopes for Layne heading into 2021, and he could be the perfect fit to replace Johnson.

Then there is also Juwan Burgess, who had 29 tackles and forced two fumbles in 2019 at the safety position, but he was the backup to Johnson last season. He could reemerge as the starter in 2021.

Bryson Bonds and Josh Sanguinetti, who were both freshmen last season, saw some valuable minutes and could be tasked to jump to safety if needed.

Jerome Johnson

What he did: Johnson had four sacks with a fumble recovery and interception on the defensive line last season, and he was selected to first-team All-Big Ten as well.

Replacement: The next man up to assume Johnson's position from last season will likely be C.J. Person, who made a couple of plays in 2020.

Person is 6-foot-3 and weighs 291 pounds. He has the similar abilities to Johnson in a way that he could also play the three-technique.

Then there is Damarjhe Lewis, who was a true freshmen in 2020 that made a lot of noise during spring ball but didn't play much during the season. With another offseason under his belt, and he could definitely help out on the defensive line as Johnson seeks a career in the NFL.

Jovan Swann

What he did: Swann was a transfer from Stanford, and last season was his only one with the Hoosiers. He was a strong interior presence that backed up Jerome Johnson and brought a lot of intangibles to the table.

Replacement: The replacements for Swann are similar for those who will fill in for Jerome Johnson as well.

The good thing for Indiana's defensive line is that the Hoosiers are also returning players like Demarcus Elliott and Sio Nofoagatoto’a.

But Indiana is going to need its youth to step up in the 2021 season.

Haydon Whitehead

What he did: Whitehead was a very valuable punter for Indiana. He had the ability to punt the ball with both feet and constantly helped the Hoosiers play the field position game.

Replacement: Indiana is bringing in another punter from a different country for the 2021 season. James Evans is from Auckland, New Zealand, and his arrival with the team this January is his first time in the United States.

He trained under Nathan Chapman and John Smith at Prokick Australia, a training ground for punters and kickers in Melbourne. Whitehead also came from Prokick.

Even though Evans has never played football in America before, Indiana will look to use him as an integral part of its special teams for years to come.

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