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OPINION: 5 Hoosiers who are primed for prolific seasons in the fall



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Then-sophomore pitcher Emily Goodin pitches against Nebraska in 2018 at Andy Mohr Field. Goodin will return for another season after the NCAA granted spring sports athletes another year of eligibility. Bobby Goddin and IDS file photo

The future of fall sports in Bloomington is still uncertain due to COVID-19, but IU athletics has steadily followed a gradual return to practice since June 15. This week, six members of the IU football program tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to the suspension of the team's voluntary workouts for an undisclosed period of time.

Players and coaches are continually being tested for the virus, and if sports return to a hint of normalcy in 2020, here are five athletes that will have the opportunity to lead their teams against the rest of the Big Ten.

Brendan Burns, sophomore, men’s swimming

Burns burst onto the scene as a freshman for the Hoosiers last year. He was named a College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-American while earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year recognition and also being selected to the All-Conference first team.

It was no secret that Burns was top-level talent entering his time at IU. In high school, he set the national public high school record in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard freestyle.

Last season, Burns was the Big Ten champion in the 200 butterfly, posting a career-best time of 1:40.98. He also earned a silver medal in the 100 backstroke and bronze medal in the 100 Butterfly. Burns was a member of the Big Ten title-winning 200 medley relay team that set a Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center record.

In his first collegiate season, Burns established himself as one of the conference’s premier swimmers. His second season should only bring more medals.

Emily Goodin, senior, softball 

Goodin got off to a scorching-hot start to her senior season before all spring sports were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IU fire-baller tossed 107.2 innings from the circle, recording a 1.76 earned run average, while striking out 111 hitters. She threw 13 complete games and had nine appearances with six or more strikeouts. In late February, she completed her second career no-hitter, earning Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week.

Goodin announced she will be returning next season after the NCAA awarded spring athletes another year of eligibility. That’s good news for the softball program because Goodin has the potential to carry the team with her arm next spring. 

Avery Lockwood, sophomore, women’s soccer

Lockwood was named a team captain heading into her sophomore season this fall, a telling sign of both respect from head coach Erwin van Bennekom and her first-year performances.

Lockwood started all 19 games for the Hoosiers, leading the team in offense with five goals and three assists. She also scored game-winning goals against Illinois and Michigan State. Lockwood secured a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team as a result.

If her freshman year is an indication of her play-making ability, she’ll be ready to put on a show this season as an underclassman captain.

Graham Rooks, sophomore, wrestling

In the always challenging Big Ten schedule, Rooks was a juggernaut in his redshirt freshman season for the Hoosiers. At 149 pounds, he defeated six Big Ten opponents in dual matches, including a win against No. 6 Griffin Parriott from Purdue.

Rooks tallied five ranked wins throughout the season, finishing the year with a 15-10 record. After starting the season unranked, Rooks moved as high as No. 14 in the country.

He placed 10th in the Big Ten Championships and qualified for the NCAA Championships before the event was eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rooks will provide consistency in the Hoosiers’ lineup and use his experience to potentially continue his dominance in his sophomore campaign.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, sophomore, men’s basketball

While he didn’t carry quite the hype that former IU basketball standout Romeo Langford did as a freshman, Jackson-Davis came through for the Hoosiers and established himself as a force in the paint.

Last season, Jackson-Davis scored a team-high 13.5 points per game, while also leading the Hoosiers in rebounding, free-throw percentage and blocks. He snatched 270 total rebounds, setting an IU freshman record.

As the year went on, Jackson-Davis started to gain more attention as one of the top forwards in the Big Ten. He was second in the conference in field goal percentage at 56% and seventh in blocked shots with just under two per game.

His impressive outings resulted in a third team All-Big Ten selection and All-Big Ten Freshman recognition. Without Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers arguably wouldn’t have been in position to make the NCAA tournament before it was canceled in March.

Jackson-Davis has already climbed some of the 2021 NBA mock draft boards. If those projections hold to be true, IU fans can only hope for the program’s four-year NCAA tournament drought to come to an end before Jackson-Davis heads to play professionally.

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