Before Indiana reached out to him, the Kelley School of Business was already on JH Tevis’ radar. After graduating from Cal-Berkeley in four years, Tevis wanted to continue his football career and earn his MBA.
Although he had a great relationship with his coaches at Cal, Tevis said typically only one player from the football team is accepted into his desired Masters program, so he had to look elsewhere. And when the Indiana coaching staff came calling, it was a no-brainer for the 6-foot-4, 281-pound defensive end.
“With [Tom Allen’s] energy and with his coaching style,” Tevis said. “I felt like it was a great fit for me football-wise, socially and academically.”
Tevis has two years of remaining eligibility and is one of three defensive linemen to transfer to Indiana this offseason. Tevis and Ole Miss transfers LeDarrius Cox and Patrick Lucas Jr. were brought in to bulk up Indiana’s defensive line and add experience.
Tevis brings experience playing a variety of spots along the defensive line at Cal, and he anticipates doing the same as a Hoosier. He said there are subtle differences in Indiana’s scheme and technique, but at the end of the day he’s playing the same game.
A native of Piedmont, Calif., Tevis was a three star recruit and the No. 1367 player in his class. After redshirting during his freshman season at Cal, Tevis appeared in four games in 2019 and started three games in the shortened 2020 season. He posted a career-high 10 tackles in Cal’s 2020 season opener at UCLA and started seven games by the end of his time at Cal.
Paul Randolph is in his first season as Indiana’s defensive line coach, and Tevis said he has appreciated Randolph’s combination of upbeat positivity and strict teaching.
“[Randolph] is hard on you when he needs to be,” Tevis said. “But he also has that side to him where he can say to you, ‘You had a bad rep here but dust it off and let’s move onto the next one.’”
Tevis has also enjoyed playing under Randolph’s aggressive style that is always looking to create big plays. Joining one of the more experienced position groups on Indiana’s roster, Tevis said veterans like Demarcus Elliot and Sio Nofoagatoto’a have been the catalysts of the quick chemistry the defensive linemen have built.
“We’re all getting along super well,” Tevis said. “I think the transition has been really smooth for the new guys, and at this point we’re all Hoosiers.”
Completing the trio of defensive linemen transfers are LeDarrius Cox and Patrick Lucas Jr. from Ole Miss. Indiana head coach Tom Allen said having transfers from Ole Miss on the team last season gave him insight into who Cox and Lucas Jr. are as people. Ryder Anderson and Jonathan Haynes are two Ole Miss transfers who played for Indiana last season.
Allen also said Indiana needed to get bigger on the interior because of the physicality of the Big Ten. Cox stands at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and Lucas Jr. is 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, immediately becoming two of Indiana’s biggest players battling in the trenches.
Cox was a three-star recruit and the No. 598 player in his class out of McGill Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Ala. He redshirted as a freshman in 2019, but still managed to appear in three games, including against No. 1 LSU. Cox appeared in 10 games in 2020 at defensive tackle, but moved to the offensive line in 2021 and didn’t see any game action. Cox will play defensive line for the Hoosiers.
“We obviously had made it a priority to get some mass on the defensive line from some older guys,” Allen said. “[Cox] obviously fits that bill.”
Joining Cox as an Ole Miss transfer is Lucas Jr., who was a three-star recruit and the No. 611 player in the class of 2019 out of Wetumpka High School in Alabama. Lucas Jr. tore his achilles against No. 2 Alabama in his first season at Ole Miss, which allowed him to redshirt.
After appearing in seven games at tackle in 2020, Lucas Jr. played only one game last season. Allen was able to meet with Lucas Jr.’s family and said there was an immediate connection in the culture Allen has built at Indiana and the values he holds.
Indiana finished near the middle of the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed last season, but the Hoosiers ranked last in both sacks and red zone defense. With veterans like Elliot and Nofoagatoto’a returning, Allen hopes this trio of transfers can bulk up Indiana’s defensive line.
“They've really bought into working really hard,” Allen said. “They’re big guys that can move … I think [they're] going to be critical for us to be able to continue to grow our defense.”
Related stories to Indiana football:
- LB TRASNSFER FOCUS: Indiana's defense allowed the most points per game in the Big Ten last season, and its leader Micah McFadden is now in the NFL. Tom Allen added a trio of linebackers through the transfer portal to help bolster the defense. CLICK HERE
- RB TRANSFER FOCUS: With Indiana's top four running backs from 2021 gone, Tom Allen hit the transfer portal to bring in Shaun Shivers from Auburn and Josh Henderson from North Carolina. And with a new running backs coach, a featured role is up for grabs. CLICK HERE
- WR TRANSFER FOCUS: With the departure of Ty Fryfogle and Miles Marshall, Indiana brought in a pair of transfer wide receivers. Emery Simmons becomes a Hoosier after three seasons at North Carolina, and Cam Camper takes a step up from Trinity Valley Community College. CLICK HERE