8 Remarkable Football Players in IU History

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The best football players in the world compete in the National Football League (NFL), and they got there by participating in varsity leagues in college and putting in a lot of work on the training grounds.

Indiana University is among the elite schools that consistently produce professional-caliber football players. They have won the Big Ten Tournament twice in the years 1945 and 1967. Moreover, the Hoosiers have made 12 bowl appearances overall. Now, let’s find out whom to give credit for the school’s football achievements.

Tevin Coleman

Tevin Ford Coleman is a running back for the New York Jets of the NFL and a graduate of Indiana University. In 2014, he rushed for more than 2,036 yards, making history at Indiana University as the first running back in school history and second at the national level to do so. The 28 rushing touchdowns he scored throughout his career put him in fourth place all-time at his university.

Alex Smith

Smith, a star high school player for Franklin County, was the first ever IndyStar Mr. Football. As a freshman, he nearly broke Herschel Walker’s NCAA record for rushing yards, with 1,475 yards. 

An injury hampered him as a sophomore and only resulted in 769 yards, but he returned strong as a junior with 1,248 yards. He rushed for 3,492 yards in just three seasons, good for third place on the school’s all-time list, ranking behind Anthony Thompson and Antwaan Randle El.

Courtney Roby

Former wide receiver Courtney E. Roby was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft after a stellar collegiate career at Indiana. Roby finished his college football career as the most productive receiver in Hoosier football history, with 170 receptions and 2,524 receiving yards. 

He was also elected team captain and the most valuable player for his senior year. In 2002, he had 59 receptions, ranked second most in school history, and was the third Hoosier receiver to achieve more than 1,000 yards in a season. Roby was one of the nation’s top NFL prospects. Thus after his senior season, he was selected to play in the Senior Bowl All-Star Game.

Robert Hoernschemeyer

Hoernschemeyer grew up in Cincinnati and attended Indiana University, where he played college football as a halfback for the Hoosiers in 1943 and 1944. He was a professional football player for ten years in the NFL and All-America Football Conference (AAFC). 

He signed up with Bo McMillin’s Indiana Hoosiers in 1943, when he was just 17 years old. In the same year, he led the NCAA in both overall offense (1,648 yards) and passing offense (1,133 yards).

James Hardy

During his time with the Hoosiers, Hardy became a football sensation. He has the most catches (191), receiving yards (2,740), and receiving touchdowns (36) in IU history. As a matter of fact, he was named to the First-team All-Big Ten in 2007. After an impressive freshman year, he turned in another solid campaign as a sophomore, receiving 51 passes for 722 yards and ten touchdowns on his way to being named to the Second-team All-Big Ten.

Antwaan Randle El

Antwaan Randle El is a former NFL wide receiver and an active American football coach. He played in the NFL for nine years. From 1998 through 2001, Randle El played as a quarterback for Indiana University’s football team. 

He made history by being the first player in Division I with 40 career touchdowns in both passing and rushing. He was the first player in Division I history to amass 2,500 total yards in each of his four seasons. He led Indiana University’s strong option offense. As a senior, Antwaan placed sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Dan Feeney

Daniel Feeney plays guard for the New York Jets of the National Football League. The New York Jets are currently doing well in NFL betting and power rankings. He attended Indiana University. He was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Feeney was the asset of offensive lines that led Indiana University to consecutive bowl appearances for the first time in over two decades. Feeney was the first offensive tackle to be awarded All-America twice despite losing significant time due to a concussion during his senior season.

Chris Liwienski

Chris Liwienski, a former American football guard, played for Indiana University. In the 1998 NFL Draft, Liwienski was picked up by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round. Liwienski was a three-year starter at tackle and the IU’s lineman of the year. He was also a team captain in his senior year. He entered the NFL in 1998 and played for nine seasons, racking up 126 NFL games. 


Varsity college football players must be excellent athletes who can compete on the field. The Indiana Hoosiers have a history of producing college football players into NFL-caliber stars and our list above proves this to be true!

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