Indiana 2013 season preview

Coach Kevin Wilson enters his third season with the Hoosiers, and while IU isn't going to challenge for a Big Ten title, it should be in the mix for a bowl bid, which would be its first since 2007 and only its second since 1993. Wilson has dramatically improved the talent level during his tenure -- 14 of the projected 22 starters were signed by Wilson's staff -- and while IU has had only 12 players drafted since 1998, pro scouts likely will be making more visits to Bloomington in the coming years.

Only three seniors appear draftable off this team, but there are a handful of sophomores who bear watching. The offense should be one of the top three or four in the league -- thanks to Wilson's schemes and a nice group of receivers -- but an area of concern is the run defense. The Hoosiers traditionally have lacked proficient defensive linemen and that likely will be the case again this season. Indiana reached the 30-point plateau six times last season and averaged 442 yards per game. Still, the Hoosiers lost four of the six games in which they scored 30.

Top senior prospects

TE Ted Bolser: He has good size (6-foot-6, 254 pounds) and again should be an important part of a Hoosiers' passing attack that was the best in the league last season. He has the most receiving yards (1,017) for a tight end in school history, and while he is not a speedster by any means, he can get deep on occasion.

FS Greg Heban: He arrived at IU as a baseball player and eventually walked on to the football team, where he has played cornerback and safety. Heban (6-1, 203) is heading into his third season as a starter and is active in run support. He led the Hoosiers with 91 tackles last season and also had three picks, including one against Ohio State, and eight pass breakups.

RB Stephen Houston: Houston (6-0, 220) has rushed for 1,551 yards and 20 touchdowns in two seasons after transferring from a junior college. He has the ability to run effectively between the tackles, but it is Houston's receiving ability -- he had 37 receptions last season -- that could get him an NFL look.

Top underclassmen

LB David Cooper: He started every game last season after transferring from junior college. Cooper (6-1, 235) is a junior who was second on the team with 86 tackles last season. He is suited best as a run-stuffer, but he did have three sacks last fall.

OG Dan Feeney: Feeney (6-4, 305) started all 12 games as a true freshman last season -- the most by a true freshman lineman in school history -- and earned some freshman All-America honors. He didn't allow a sack and also showed promising ability as a run blocker. Feeney is the best player on an offensive line that has zero seniors on the two-deep depth chart.

DT Darius Latham: Latham (6-5, 291) is the star of IU's 2013 recruiting class. Some recruiting analysts felt his long-term potential is best as an offensive lineman, but it seems likely Latham -- who originally committed to Wisconsin before reneging and signing with the home-state Hoosiers -- will see a lot of time on the defensive line this fall. Defensive tackle is a position of need for the Hoosiers, who lack bodies in the interior.

WR Cody Latimer: Latimer (6-3, 215), a junior from Ohio, is the type of recruit who likely would not have signed with IU had Wilson not been the coach. Latimer is a good fit for Wilson's pass-happy offense -- he has good size, is physical and can get deep. Last season, he had 51 receptions and led the Hoosiers with 805 receiving yards (15.8 yards per catch).

DE Zack Shaw: Shaw (6-3, 253), a sophomore, moved to end from linebacker in the spring of 2012 and played well at his new position, starting nine games. A 215-pound running back/inside linebacker in high school, a bulked-up Shaw looks to have the potential to be an effective pass rusher. He was the centerpiece of Wilson's first recruiting class at IU.

OT Jason Spriggs: As with Feeney, Spriggs (6-7, 280) started all 12 games as a true freshman last season. He was a freshman all-league selection and generally held up at left tackle, allowing only two sacks. He could stand to add weight and bulk, and definitely has the frame to handle it.

Check out the top 10 all-time players from Indiana.

Three must-see games of 2013

Oct. 12 at Michigan State: The Spartans' tough defense will be a big test for the Hoosiers' offense. In particular, it will be interesting to see whether Bolser, Latimer and IU's other receivers can have success against a veteran Spartans secondary.

Oct. 19 at Michigan: Can Indiana's defensive ends get any kind of push against Michigan's strong pair of tackles? And will IU's linebackers hold up? This will be a big game for Shaw and Cooper.

Nov. 23 at Ohio State: Indiana has only four road games this fall, but each is a monster: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and this road finale against Ohio State. IU hung tough against Ohio State last season, falling 52-49. If IU's receiving corps can do anything against the Buckeyes' talented secondary, this contest could be interesting, too.

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