Junior defensive lineman Jaren Handy thought IU football should’ve won all of its games last season.
The Auburn University transfer watched every game IU played last season since his cousin, graduate student and wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, is on the team. He thought the Hoosiers should’ve beat Ohio State and thought the loss to the University of Mississippi in the Outback Bowl was disappointing.
“I was really upset with them with the Ole Miss game,” Handy said in a Zoom conference Tuesday. “I feel like they really could’ve pulled that one out.”
Now Handy is coming to IU and will be part of the defensive line group that he says needs to step up the most for IU to win those games.
“When you get pressure from the D-line, you don’t really have to blitz your cornerbacks and stuff like that, you can keep them out there on an island,” Handy said. “Me coming here, I feel like I can bring that.”
Fryfogle became a part of the recruiting process for Handy, giving him insights into the program that guided his decision.
“It definitely made it easier,” Handy said. “I can get a real true feel, I can trust his word.”
Handy, like University of Southern California transfer Stephen Carr, is coming to IU from a big name program — something new for IU this season. The Hoosiers are seeing top players choosing to leave programs like Auburn, USC, Ole Miss, Michigan and Florida State University to play for IU.
“The Indiana team is great, man,” Carr, a graduate student running back, said. “I watched some of their games last season and it was hard not to pick this school. With the transfers that came in, I give credit to the recruiting staff. They did a swell job.”
Carr said the IU recruiting staff didn’t give the typical recruiting pitch, instead getting directly to how the program worked and how Carr fit in.
Carr, who described himself as an elusive, downhill runner, is immediately the most experienced member of a running backs room with sophomore Tim Baldwin Jr. and junior Sampson James, but isn’t trying to be the leader of the three yet.
“I haven’t been out here for more than a week,” Carr said. “So I’m just trying to get a feel for everybody. I don’t want to take too much charge, I haven't put in too much work here. I’m just letting everything flow, getting a feel for the guys.”
Carr was recruited in part to replace Stevie Scott III, IU’s starting running back in 2020 who signed with the New Orleans Saints over the offseason. Carr said he’ll also have to fill the pass blocking Scott brought to the IU offense.
“Pass pro is the No. 1 thing that a running back needs because if you can’t pass block, it’s hard to put you in a game,” Carr said. “They’ll blitz you every time they put you in the game or they’ll find a way to break you.”
Handy will play the bull position for IU, which lines up at the defensive end spot and stays standing, allowing the player to either rush the quarterback or drop back in coverage.
“I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge,” Handy said. “People keep telling me the Big Ten has some really good O-linemen. I like to pass rush and I like to get sacks and stuff like that, so I feel like it’ll really help my game and take me to that next step.”