Three Indiana Football players to watch this spring...and they all aren't Transfers

There are a lot of new faces in Bloomington. Some familiar ones need to develop chemistry with their new teammates. With Spring practice right around the corner, here are three players to watch this spring for the Hoosiers.

Indiana v Penn State
Indiana v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Quarterbacks: Kurtis Rourke and Tayven Jackson

The competition for starting quarterback might be the most intriguing competition this spring. Expect Ohio transfer Kurtis Rourke and returning quarterback Tayven Jackson to duke it out for the starting job well into the summer. One could argue that Rourke has an edge already because of his experience and accomplishments, but both quarterbacks have to learn offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan's system.

Tayven Jackson started the 2023 season as the starting quarterback. He struggled and began to split time with Brendan Sorsby until he got hurt. Jackson was a highly-touted transfer from Tennessee and is an elite athlete.

Linebacker: Aiden Fisher

The James Madison transfer has the unenviable task of replacing all-everything middle linebacker Aaron Casey. Not only was Casey was Indiana's best defensive player, but he was also the heart and soul of the team. He leaves a chasm of ability and leadership on that defense.

Casey was an All-Big Ten and Phil Steele Second Team All-American, leading the Hoosiers in total tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Suffice it to say that Mr. Fisher has some big shoes to fill.

Fisher is an intriguing player for two reasons. First, he's just a sophomore with at least two years to play. Second is his knowledge of the defense. Coordinator Bryant Haines is one of the many coaches who followed Curt Cignetti from James Madison. He won't be asked to do the same things as Casey because the defense is different. Can Fisher replace the intangibles Casey brought?

Wide Receiver: Donaven McCulley

Cignetti and his staff convincing wide receiver Donaven McCulley to return was one of the best moves during the signing period. There was a litany of schools who wanted McCulley in their receiver room.

With no Brendan Sorsby, how does he develop a rapport with the quarterbacks for the starting vying for the starting job? In addition, the receivers around him are new. Texas Tech transfer Myles Price and James Madison transfer Elijah Sarrat are additions to the receiver room.