Despite the poor result to the 2023 season, Indiana football was able to see multiple Hoosiers receive honors due to their outstanding individual seasons.
The honors were headlined by senior linebacker Aaron Casey was named First-Team All-Big Ten Defense. In the 2023 season Casey ranked No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss (20.0) and solo tackles (78), with both totals leading the Big Ten. His 109 total tackles sit No. 4 in the Big Ten and No. 23 in the FBS and mark the first 100-tackle season by an Indiana football defender since Tegray Scales (126) in 2016.
Other Indiana football Hoosiers that received honors include redshirt senior Andre Carter and redshirt junior Kobee Minor, who both were named honorable mentions on the All-Big Ten Defense Team. Sophomore return specialist Jaylin Lucas and punter James Evans were both selected as All-Big Ten third team Special Teams.
These reward announcements are on the heels of the news that Indiana is firing head coach Tom Allen.
Below is the full release.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – After one of the most productive seasons on the field among FBS defenders, redshirt senior Aaron Casey was named first-team All-Big Ten to lead a group of five Indiana football student-athletes to earn All-B1G honors as announced by the conference office on Tuesday (Nov. 28).
Casey led the defensive trio that also included honorable mention selections redshirt senior Andre Carter and redshirt junior Kobee Minor. On special teams, sophomore Jaylin Lucas (return specialist) and punter James Evans were both selected as All-Big Ten third team. The All-Big Ten awards for the offense will be announced on Wednesday (Nov. 29).
Casey was among the nation’s best at the linebacker position with 109 tackles on the season, which included a Big Ten-best 20.0 tackles for loss – a total that ranked No. 2 in the FBS at the end of the regular season. The only FBS defender with multiple games of 4.0 tackles for loss or more, Casey ranked No. 2 nationally in TFLs, while his 19 solo tackles for loss led the nation.
In 2023, Casey led the Big Ten and ranked No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss (20.0) and solo tackles (78). His 109 total tackles sit No. 4 in the Big Ten and No. 23 in the FBS and mark the first 100-tackle season by an IU defender since Tegray Scales (126) in 2016. He led the Power 5 with 22 tackles for loss or no gain per Pro Football Focus.
His 20.0 tackles for loss are tied for No. 4 on the single season charts with Nathan Davis (1995) and were the most by an IU defender since Scales’ 23.5 in 2016. Of his 20.0 tackles for loss, 19 of those were solo TFLs, which led the FBS. His career total of 36.0 tackles for loss finished No. 8 all-time at IU, just one behind Micah McFadden’s career total (37.0).
Casey is the 12th linebacker in Indiana history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors and the third since 2017. He joins Scales (2017) and Micah McFadden (2020) as the most recent to win the award. In 2023, Casey was the first IU defender to earn multiple Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards in a career and gave IU two defensive weekly award winners for just the second time in a single season.
Carter was among the most disruptive defensive linemen in the Big Ten and finished his one season on campus with 49 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. Per Pro Football Focus, Carter ranked No. 8 in the Big Ten in total pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) at 32 and his 697 total snaps played were No. 4 among Big Ten defensive linemen.
In 12 games played, Carter had at least 1.0 tackles for loss in seven games and posted four games with multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Detroit, Michigan, native began the season with 2.0 tackles for loss in each of the first two games. That total was the best start to a season since 2004 when Kyle Killion posted 5.5 tackles for loss in games versus Central Michigan and Oregon.
Minor made 29 tackles on the season and was credited with four pass breakups in 615 total snaps played on the season. Of the 615 snaps, 339 of those came in pass coverage. Among FBS cornerbacks with 300 coverage snaps played, Minor led the Big Ten and was No. 7 nationally with just 18 receptions allowed (339 coverage snaps).
He was among a group of 33 cornerbacks nationally to play 300-plus snaps and allow one-or-fewer receiving touchdowns on the season. His 38 coverage targets were the fewest in the Big Ten among cornerbacks with at least 300 snaps.
Even with teams kicking short or electing for out of the end zone, Jaylin Lucas was still the highest-rated kickoff return man in the FBS among specialists 25-or-more returns on the season. His 572 kickoff return yards led the Big Ten, was No. 5 among Power 5 returners and sat ranked No. 14 in the FBS. His 100-yard kickoff return against Purdue tied for the longest play in IU history and was one of 10 returns of 100 yards in the FBS during the 2023 season, the only 100-yard effort in the Big Ten.
With his kickoff return touchdown at Purdue, Lucas is tied for the lead among active FBS returners with three career kickoff return touchdowns, which ties Marcus Thigpen (2005-08) for the IU career record. His career kickoff return yardage total of 1,163 ranks No. 10 all-time at Indiana, as well as No. 22 among active NCAA returners and second among non-upperclassmen.
In 2023, Lucas finished with 1,108 all-purpose yards, the most in a season since Stevie Scott III (1,223) in 2018. His total included 572 kickoff return yards, 275 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards and 14 punt return yards. He accounted for five total touchdowns – 1 return, 2 rushing and 2 receiving – and led the team with 101 offensive touches during the season.
Lucas was the 2022 Big Ten Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year, the first Hoosier to win the award and first freshman to capture the honor since its inception in 2015. He was the first Hoosier to earn all-conference accolades as a return specialist last season.
With a punting average of 45.8 yards per punt, Evans set the Indiana single season record by one yard per punt, blasting past Drew Hagan’s mark of 44.8 in 1999. Of his 57 punts, 22 traveled over 50 yards, with a long punt of 70 yards. His punting average ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 15 nationally.
A three-year anchor on special teams, he owns 201 punts in his career and is just the fifth Hoosier to reach the 200-punt mark in a career. With a career 43.9 yards per punt average, Evans ranks No. 1 on Indiana’s career charts, more than a full yard ahead of Alan Sutkowski (42.5 ypp; 1995-97).
Evans is the first Indiana punter to earn All-B1G honors since Hagan was a first-team honoree during the 1999 season.
SEE ALSO: ‘We have lost momentum’: IU Athletic Director Scott Dolson comments on decision to part ways with Indiana football head coach Tom Allen
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