The claim to fame for Dan Feeney has been his consistency. Coaches rave about how hard he works day in, day out. IU Coach Kevin Wilson once joked that he even puts his socks on well.
What will remain consistent is the junior guard’s presence in Bloomington, as Feeney announced his decision to return for his final season Monday.
“Glad to be back at IU,” he said Tuesday. “Never really left, but glad to be finally committed.”
It will be a somewhat different-looking IU offensive line next season — seniors like tackle Jason Spriggs and center Jake Reed are gone. Feeney represents some continuity for the front five in a time of transition.
But Feeney will not be the lone player with experience. Junior Dimitric Camiel started last season at right tackle. Junior guard Jacob Bailey took over the starting left guard spot from freshman Wes Martin in the middle of the season. Junior center Wes Rogers rotated in as well.
All four of these players will also be back with a chance to make their own names.
“They’ve been getting in the shadows and I think it will be a good time for them to shine and they will definitely raise their standards to come up to our o-line,” Feeney said.
Feeney waited until the deadline day to decide to return to IU instead of going to the NFL Draft. He went through the process and received feedback on what to work on — primarily fundamental things, he said. He consulted with Wilson and offensive line Coach Greg Frey as well as Spriggs, who is projected to go as high as the first or second round himself.
He said he can’t thank those people enough. All three provided him with pros and cons to his decision and supported him either way. Now, he said he wants to be with the brothers that he has spent four years with already.
“They work so hard and I’m honored to work with them,” Feeney said. “They make me a better player and I hopefully can return the favor.”
He added that he and his teammates came to IU with the goal of turning the program around. He doesn’t think they are there yet, but he has another year to get there.
Feeney thinks the work aspect and standards are where they need to be. What comes next is wins, and he said he thinks this is the year.
“Now I can just focus on this season, helping lead the team into bigger dreams as Big Ten champions,” he said.
Feeney earned All-American Honors from four different outlets in 2015. He has allowed one sack in 37 starts at right guard and none in 2015.
He said coaches have talked about trying him out at different spots like center or tackle. He’s never done it before, but he thought it could be fun.
“By the time he is done,” Wilson said, “Dan will be one of the best to ever wear an Indiana uniform.”