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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest College Football News & Rumors / Top 10 Indiana Hoosier Football Players of all-time

Top 10 Indiana Hoosier Football Players of all-time

Publish Date: 12/19/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

I know Indiana football. Indiana is a basketball school, but they have had some great football players, and today, we will look at the very best!

10) John Isenbarger

Muncie, Indiana native Isenbarger boasted an incredible career average rushing average of five yards per carry and currently ranks ninth on Indiana University’s all-time rushing yards list despite not playing freshman year.

In 1969, Isenbarger put up his best performance of his career against Minnesota with a 184 yard performance and followed it up by finishing off against Purdue with an astounding 165-yard haul – 11th best total in program history and 13 total 100+ yard games over his tenure as quarterback.

At his graduation, Isenbarger held two records – all-time rusher and single-season rusher, respectively.

Video: INDIANA FOOTBALL 11/25/1967 HOOSIER'S DEFEAT PURDUE'S BEST TEAM!

INDIANA FOOTBALL 11/25/1967 HOOSIER’S DEFEAT PURDUE’S BEST TEAM!

9) Nate Sudfeld

At 7,879 yards, Sudfeld holds the all-time passing yardage record at Indiana by more than 400 yards. Had it not been for his injury in 2014, that margin would likely have been even more significant.

At first glance, it may not seem clear why he merits being on this list; upon further inspection, it becomes evident why he deserves such distinction despite having fewer attempts than any of the three following players on the all-time career passing yards list.

Video: Nate Sudfeld 2015 Highlights ||

Nate Sudfeld 2015 Highlights || “Superpower” || Indiana

8) James Hardy

James Hardy was consistently dominant for three straight seasons at Indiana, but if there was any question as to whether he should be on this list, his senior season put him over the top:  79 catches, 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns.  Save for one really strong season by Ernie Jones, no other receiver in program history even comes close to that production.

But he wasn’t a one-hit wonder by any means.  Hardy led the team in receiving for three straight seasons from 2005 to 2007, securing 61, 51 and 79 catches, and 893, 722 and 1,125 yards in those campaigns.

Video: James Hardy Touchdown vs Iowa

James Hardy Touchdown vs Iowa

7) Corby Davis

“Corby” Davis is alone the sole Indiana University football player ever to be selected as the number-one overall player in an NFL Draft.

He would later become Indiana University and Big Ten Most Valuable Player and be named to an All-American first-team squad.

Davis was honored with induction into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

6) Tevin Coleman

Coleman stands as Indiana University’s 5th all-time rushing leader, amassing 3,219 yards over just two full seasons of playing time. As an outlier among his Hoosier counterparts in the top ten list, Coleman stands out with an astounding career average of over 7 yards per rushing attempt – truly impressive for someone only playing two full seasons.

Illinois native Coleman experienced an unforgettable 2014 campaign when he became only the third-ever unanimous and consensus first-team All-American from his program and earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition.

Coleman finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting in 2014, the best result by any Hoosier since Antwaan Randle El’s sixth-place showing in 2001. Finishing with 2,036 yards for Indiana University, Coleman became only the 18th player ever in FBS history to surpass this mark in a single season.

Video: Indiana RB Tevin Coleman: 2014 Season Highlights

Indiana RB Tevin Coleman: 2014 Season Highlights

5) Dan Feeney

Feeney earned two first-team All-America honors during 2015 and 2016 for Indiana football. Indiana had six offensive linemen claim such distinction, but only Feeney could achieve it twice.

Feeney made 46 starts as a right guard and had a brief stint at correct tackle during his career, allowing only two sacks over 3,355 snaps. Those are incredible numbers and make Feeney the greatest offensive lineman in Hoosier history!

Video: #BTNAllDecade Team Selection: Indiana G Dan Feeney | Big Ten Football

#BTNAllDecade Team Selection: Indiana G Dan Feeney | Big Ten Football

4) George Taliaferro

Taliaferro was the only Indiana football player ever named to All-America teams in three consecutive seasons, only missing out due to his early departure for professional play. In 1948 he earned first-team recognition after having previously been honored as part of both 1945 and 1947’s All-American second teams.

Taliaferro became the first African-American to lead the Big Ten Conference in rushing (719 yards). Indiana went unbeaten at 9-0-1 that season and claimed the Big Ten championship..

Taliaferro was also the team’s punter every year, setting a program record with 40.6 yards per kick in 1948. Taliaferro is an all-around performer who still owns seven most punt return yards in program history and fourth most interception return yards overall.

Video: George Taliaferro: Hoosier Legend - 11 minute version

George Taliaferro: Hoosier Legend – 11 minute version

3) Pete Pihos

Pihos earned All-American recognition twice during his time with Indiana. Before WWII, he made this accolade at the end back position; upon returning home, he achieved similar distinction at the fullback position in 1945 and led Indiana University to their inaugural Big Ten title that year with 14 touchdowns (nine rushing, five receiving,) and 24 receptions respectively. Pihos is the only Hoosier player in the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Video: Dear Dad

Dear Dad

2) Anthony Thompson

Anthony Thompson arrived at Indiana when the career touchdown record was 30; when he left, it was 68. In 1989 he broke the NCAA career touchdown record by scoring against Michigan State, becoming the NCAA career touchdown record holder as he scored 23 more than No. 2. Additionally, he holds both of IU’s all-time season touchdown totals with 26 and 25 scored, respectively during his last two years as an Indiana Hoosier.

Video: Most Iconic Person: Anthony Thompson | B1G Football

Most Iconic Person: Anthony Thompson | B1G Football

1) Antwaan Randal El

Randal El holds the program’s second-all-time passing yards record with 7,469. Additionally, his 42 career passing touchdowns put him fourth among all passers.

Randle El was an incredible Hoosier player but I truly appreciated his greatness when you consider what he accomplished with his legs. Not only is he Indiana University Football’s 2nd all-time rusher with 3,895 yards, but he led in 1998 and 2000 in rushing with 1,270 total rushing yards, good enough for 7th best season overall in program history and 2nd all-time overall with 44 career rushing touchdowns!

Second All-Time in Passing and Rushing Yards.

Randle El accumulated 11,364 total yards over his career – more than 3,000 more than the No. 2 player on Indiana University’s all-time list!

Video: Antwaan Randle El Highlights

Antwaan Randle El Highlights

Honorable mention

Trent Green

Tim Clifford

Mike Dumas

Vaughn Dunbar

Ernie Jones

Pete Stoyanovich

Tracey Porter

Van Waiters

Marv Woodson

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