Summer's almost here, but we're still looking forward to the fall. With that in mind, we're looking at the most indispensable players on each Big Ten team.
By indispensable, we don't necessarily mean best. We mean the players who would be hardest to replace between now and the start of the season if they got hurt/suspended/eaten by a bear, etc. That could be because of their value to the team or because of a lack of depth at their position.
We'll pick two players from each team, usually offense and defense, but not always. The Indiana Hoosiers are up next.
Shane Wynn, WR, Sr.
It's odd to label wide receiver as a concern for Indiana, as the program typically churns out productive pass-catchers. But after losing NFL draft picks at both wide receiver (Cody Latimer, second round) and tight end (Ted Bolser, seventh round), not to mention veteran wideout Kofi Hughes, the Hoosiers are suddenly thin on the perimeter. Wynn has by far the most experience in the group after starting every game in each of the past two seasons. He has 133 career receptions for 1,490 yards and 17 touchdowns, including a team-high 11 last season. Wynn also is a major special-teams contributor with 1,610 career kick return yards, third on Indiana's all-time list. Losing Wynn would hurt Indiana in two of the three phases.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Jr.
Although Indiana's defense should be better this season, no individual player can be labeled indispensable at this point. Coleman, meanwhile, would be a significant loss, especially with the Hoosiers' question marks at wide receiver and tight end. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back will be among the Big Ten's most explosive players in 2014 after averaging 7.3 yards per carry and 141.7 all-purpose yards per game last season. He became the first Indiana player since 2001 to average more than 100 rush yards, and he tied for second nationally with five plays of 50 yards or longer and tied for fourth with nine plays of 30 yards or longer. Stephen Houston's departure creates uncertainty behind Coleman, who should be IU's top offensive weapon in 2014.