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Donaven McCulley ready to step up for Indiana in year two at WR: ‘I’m kinda just coming into my own at the position’



Indiana's Donaven McCulley (1) catches a pass during fall camp football practice at Indiana University on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Indiana concludes its spring practice this weekend with its Spring Game. With that will come the first time fans will see the ‘new and improved’ Donaven McCulley — an important piece to the Indiana offense in 2023.

Making his transition from quarterback to wide receiver last year, McCulley flashed some of the athletic potential that made him a highly sought-after recruit in high school. But, with that came growing pains.

Now in year two at wide receiver, Donaven McCulley is down eight pounds and is working harder than ever to make a consistent impact on the field this season.

“My first season I just tried to take everything as I could and be a sponge,” McCulley told reporters earlier this week. “Getting out of my breaks is really something that’s big for me (and something I’m working on). Switching positions, you’re not used to that. Just working on that, getting out of breaks and everything, staying flexible.”

In 2022, McCulley had 16 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown. He had at least one reception in nine of 12 games played. His ability to be a playmaker on the outside for Indiana is now something head coach Tom Allen is expecting heading into year two at the position. And, it’s something he needs out of the talented McCulley.

“He (McCulley) made some more plays today. Every day he’s made plays, and so that’s what I expect,” Allen said earlier this spring. “We’ve had some really good heart to hearts about it, and he knows where he wants to be and where I believe he can be. And just having continued growth at that position and learning and being able to just find a way to get open and make plays and then go score football.”

At 6-foot-5 and 200-pounds, McCulley is an ideal threat at the wide receiver position. So while making sure he continued to learn the aspects of the wide receiver position on the field, the off the field training was just as important.

And that is his diet, nutrition and work in the weight room.

“I felt like I was too heavy, felt like I couldn’t run,” McCulley said of last year. ” … just talked to coach (Aaron) Wellman and the staff, and our nutritionist, Isaac (Hicks III) to make sure I’m eating the right things, monitoring my weight. I was kind of a big sweets guy. I had to cut out a little bit of that.”

That progression he’s making off of the field is having an immediate impact on the field.

“Releases,” McCulley said of what he’s noticed improving from last year. “Last year I wasn’t good on release. This year, I’m working hard on those, even after practice. Working with Cam (Camper) and Kamryn Perry.

“Getting out of my breaks is really something that’s big for me. Switching positions, you’re not used to that. Just working on that, getting out of breaks and everything, staying flexible.”

Part of McCulley’s development this spring and summer will be his continued learning alongside new wide receivers coach Antony Tucker.

“He’s gonna make sure you get get everything right. He’s gonna make sure you do everything correctly. He’s gonna coach you extremely hard. He’s not gonna let you be lazy or loaf, none of that,” McCulley said cracking a smile. “I like coach Tucker. He pushes you to the max … he really gets on us.”

With all of the hard work that Donaven McCulley has put in this offseason, he’s not only starting to get comfortable, but also confident. And with the talent already there, that confidence could be the only missing piece that could unleash him this season.

“This year I’m way more comfortable, even with the playbook. With the alignment, what a receiver is supposed to do,” McCulley said. “I’m kinda just coming into my own at the position.”

SEE ALSO: Video: Donaven McCulley discusses his role in second year as WR at Indiana

Follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 


Indiana football announces Eastern Michigan as opponent on future schedule



The Indiana football program announced a future meeting with Eastern Michigan. (Indiana Athletics)

The Indiana football program has a new opponent on its future schedule. On Wednesday, it was announced that Indiana and Eastern Michigan had scheduled a future non-conference game in 2028.

The game will take place in Bloomington.

The two programs have only played one other time, back in 1990. It was a win for Indiana, 37-6.

Below is the full release from Indiana football.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University and Eastern Michigan University football programs announced on Wednesday (May 24) afternoon that the teams will play in Bloomington on Sept. 9, 2028.

IU defeated EMU, 37-6, at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 29, 1990, in the only meeting between the two programs.

Below are the Hoosiers future non-conference opponents:

9.8 – Indiana State
9.16 – vs. Louisville @ Lucas Oil Stadium
9.23 – Akron

8.31 – FIU
9.7 – at Louisville
9.21 – Charlotte

8.30 – Old Dominion
9.6 – Louisville
9.13 – Indiana State

9.5 – Colorado State
9.12 – Ball State
9.26 – at Connecticut

9.4 – at Virginia
9.11 – Indiana State

9.9 – Eastern Michigan
9.16 – Virginia

9.15 – Western Kentucky

8.31 – at Notre Dame

9.27 – Notre Dame

SEE ALSO: Jaylin Lucas headlines six Indiana football players on Athlon Sports All-Big Ten teams

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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Indiana Football: Jaylin Lucas headlines six Hoosiers on Athlon Sports All-Big Ten teams



Six Indiana football players were named to the Athlon Sports All-Big Ten teams. (Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports)

The All-Big Ten teams from Athlon Sports were announced on Monday and numerous Indiana football players received an honor.

The headliner from Indiana was Jaylin Lucas. The All-American kick returner was named a First-Team Specialist by Athlon Sports. Lucas comes into the 2023 season after totaling 591 kick return yards last season. He averaged 28.1 yards per return which ranked No. 4 nationally.

He added 271 rushing yards and 82 yards receiving to total 994 total all-purpose yards on the season.

Lucas was also named a Preseason Walter Camp All-American.

The speedster has been terrific already this offseason, having numerous standout plays in spring practice.

“He had two of the greatest runs I’ve seen in my life. It’s a shame they were behind closed doors,” IU offensive coordinator Walt Bell said. “He’s done a great job mentally of doing the things we need him to do … He’s playing all over the field … he’s now really become a true multi-purpose tool. We still have to continue to evolve and develop those tools, but if he gets it — enough time, we will be in every game … he was just making a lot of people miss, fall down. He has a really special gift and one of the better ball in hand players I’ve been around.”

There were two offensive players on the three teams. Wide receiver Cam Camper was a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection from Athlon Sports. He is coming off of a terrific season in his first year in Bloomington. Despite playing in just seven games, Camper finished 2022 with 46 catches for 569 yards and two touchdowns.

He is coming off of a torn ACL.

His biggest game was the season-opener against Illinois. He had 11 catches for 156 yards while defended by Devon Witherspoon. Witherspoon was just selected No. 5 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

The other member of one of the offensive teams was offensive lineman Matthew Bedford. He was named to the Fourth-Team.

Bedford missed the final 11 games last season after suffering a torn ACL in the season-opener. Bedford was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection in 2021.

Defensively, Aaron Casey was named to the Second Team. Casey is coming off of a fabulous 2022 season in which he led the Indiana football program in tackles. In total, he finished with 86 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Indiana lost nine of its top 10 leading tacklers from a season ago. Aaron Casey is the lone returner. So, a big 2023 is in store for the linebacker.

On the All-Big Ten Third-Team is Western Michigan transfer Andre Carter.

Carter arrives at Indiana after totaling 70 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception last season.

IU head coach Tom Allen had high praise for the senior.

“He is the biggest, most physical one we’ve had here since I’ve been here. Very, very disruptive … Got to get him in elite shape. He is not there yet.”

The final Indiana football player on an All-Big Ten team is punter James Evans, who is labeled a Third-Team Specialist.

Indiana is looking to improve on a 4-8 season in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Storylines to follow for Indiana football following spring practice

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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Indiana Football: Tom Allen dips in latest CBS Sports’ 2023 coaching rankings



Indiana football head coach Tom Allen saw his spot drop in the updated CBS Sports' 2023 coaching rankings. (Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

After another lackluster season in Bloomington, the Indiana football program is looking to bounce back in a critical 2023 season. Head coach Tom Allen looks to take the program back to what it was three years ago and away from the past two seasons.

CBS Sports released its yearly list of the best coaches in the country on Wednesday and Allen dipped in the rankings once again.

Allen, who was ranked No. 40 ahead of the 2022 season, fell to No. 62 this year.

“It’s been a long fall for Allen,” CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli wrote. “He rocketed up the charts after Indiana went 14-7 over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, reaching as high as No. 20 in our 2021 rankings. Now, he’s down to No. 62 after going 6-18 the last two years.”

Indiana went 4-8 in 2022, which followed up a 2-10 season in 2021. So, in the past two seasons the Indiana football program has just a 6-18 record. That comes after a two year stretch with a 14-7 record.

A large reason for the recent struggles has been the lack of attention to detail and lack of mental and physical toughness. ‘Toughness’ — in both aspects — is the messaging Allen and the Indiana football staff are focused on portraying to the team this offseason.

“I feel like we made progress. I really wanted to develop our toughness as a team. That’s a huge priority,” Allen said during Spring practice. “… It’s all going to be fourth quarter driven. It’s all going to be how we’re going to finish in the fourth quarter from a physical perspective. To be able to dominate your opponent in that situation. Win those third downs, win those critical downs. And you have to have an expectation that I don’t get tired. They’re the ones that get tired. That has to be built, and that’s over the summertime.”

The Hoosiers are looking to rebuild its roster from the past few years. It will be around a young quarterback and a new defensive play caller.

Time will tell whether or not it’ll work and be effective. Regardless, Tom Allen is excited about where his team is at and looking ahead to a strong summer and fall for Indiana football.

“It’s been a very, very positive spring,” Allen said. “Excited about where we’re at. Just have a lot of work ahead of us.”

SEE ALSO: Indiana football enters phase two of prep work as a critical summer approaches

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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