BLOOMINGTON — When it comes to position groups on the Indiana football roster, head coach Tom Allen is confident in his cornerbacks and their ability in man coverage.
IU’s pass defense allowed a respectable 213.7 yards per game in 2019, but there is still room for more big plays. IU only recorded seven interceptions, with the corners accounting for just two picks. On the flip side, led by honorable mention All Big-Ten freshman Tiawan Mullen, IU’s corners accounted for 20 of the team’s 42 pass breakups.
Allen feels good about the talent and depth of the cornerback position heading into 2020.
“We’ve had springs here where we had three corners going in, and we just had — we knew we had issues with that, and that’s not the case anymore,” Allen said.
Here’s a look at IU’s cornerbacks going into the 2020 season:
As a sophomore, Mullen will look to build off his breakout freshman season. Per PFF Draft, a website that evaluates future NFL draft prospects, Mullen is the highest-rated returning cornerback in the Big Ten.
At 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds, Mullen makes up for his lack of size with his speed and ball skills. Mullen led the Big Ten and finished second among freshman nationally in pass breakups in Football Bowl Subdivision play with 13.
On top of that, Mullen showed a nose for the football with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
“There’s always room to improve,” Mullen said. “I’m never satisfied with how I played. Freshman year I feel could have been better. I feel like I can do more for the team.”THE CONVERSION
Reese Taylor made a successful transition from an all-purpose back on offense back to cornerback in 2019.
After dealing with a hand injury early in the season, Taylor blossomed, eventually earning the starting job opposite Mullen by the end of the season. He made a game-clinching interception last season at Maryland and finished the year with a pair of pass breakups.
More will be expected this season from Taylor, a former 2017 Indiana Mr. Football from Indianapolis Ben Davis who is just starting to tap into his athletic potential.
Junior Jaylin Williams, who has appeared in 25 games with seven starts, will give IU’s secondary an experienced third cover-corner in nickel and dime formations. Williams has two career interceptions, including a game-clinching pick last year against Ball State.
Redshirt freshman Josh Sanguinetti is moving from safety to corner after displaying playmaking ability last year during fall camp. Sanguinetti suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in November and was limited during IU’s first four spring practices but should be back to 100 percent by the start of next fall.