BLOOMINGTON -- Rashard Fant is staying. Devine Redding and Marcus Oliver are not.
Welcome to Indiana football reality, when NFL opportunity comes, sometimes early, sometimes not, depending on talent and preference.
Fant, a veteran Hoosier cornerback, has decided to stay for his senior season.
Redding, who has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons, is skipping his final season to enter the NFL draft. So is Oliver, a standout linebacker with a knack for causing and recovering turnovers.
Fant was a second-team All-Big Ten selection this past season. His 17 pass breakups ranked second nationally and led the Big Ten. He also led the conference with 20 passes defended. That was third in the country.
He also had three interceptions along with 33 tackles.
Fant leads all active players with 48 career passes defended.
Fant announced his decision via a tweet -- “One more year; I’m in!”
As a sophomore, Redding rushed for 1,012 yards and nine touchdowns. This past season he rushed for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns.
Redding released a statement about his decision:
“As I look ahead to next year, I have realized two things. The first is that any success I have experienced to date—on or off the field—is shared. It would not have been possible without God; the unconditional love and support of my parents, Desmond Redding and Natalie Fields; and my IU family: the coaches, staff, and amazing Hoosier fans.
“Secondly, my life so far has been shaped by my goal of playing in the NFL. After receiving a favorable response from the NFL Advisory Committee, and a lot of thought and prayer, I have realized that now is the moment for me to pursue that lifelong dream. As a result, I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and will declare for the NFL Draft.
“I did not arrive at this decision easily, and I want to reiterate my sincerest thanks to all of the coaches, staff, and teammates who have made reaching this goal possible. Coach Wilson challenged me to be the greatest version of myself. Coach McCullough created a respectful atmosphere where running backs can grow as men and players and reach our goals. I am forever grateful to them both, as well as the training staff, Christa Sist, IU academics, and Coach Allen, who has supported me in this decision.
“To my IU family: I could never be who I am, on and off the field, without your willingness to embrace me as a person. It's because of you that I feel I'm genuinely ready for the challenge of the NFL. God bless and Go Hoosiers!
Oliver set a school record with 12 forced fumbles during his career. He has two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. As a junior he had 112 tackles, including 15 for loss. This past season he totaled 96 tackles, 15.5 for loss.
Oliver also released a statement about his decision:
“Growing up, my family and friends have been a big part of who I am today, from my mother going above and beyond to support me and my siblings, to my friends helping and encouraging me throughout the recruiting process. When it came time for me to choose where I would continue my academic and football careers, it was very important that I found the place that continued the family atmosphere that my hometown community shared.
“From the first time I stepped foot on campus as a recruit, to now as an experienced and seasoned Hoosier, I have felt nothing but love and support from my coaches, my teammates, the student body, the medical staff, academic staff, and strength staff. Within this community, we have been able to build something at Indiana for Hoosier Nation to be excited about. I will always take pride in what we have been able to accomplish.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to play for and be a part of the Indiana Hoosier family. The relationships, friendships, and memories that were made over the last four years will forever be priceless, and the gift of being a part of this great community for the rest of my life will forever be a blessing and something I am thankful for. I would like to thank all of the faithful Hoosier fans that cheered us on throughout the years, and Coach Wilson, Coach Allen, and Coach Inge for coaching me to be the best. I am also indebted to all of my teammates who have pushed me to the brink in order to achieve our goals. To my athletic trainers, academic advisers, and strength coaches, thank you for giving me every opportunity to succeed personally, athletically, and professionally.
“I've learned that playing college football is most importantly an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am ecstatic to continue this opportunity and declare myself eligible for the National Football League. I know that with the support of my Hoosier family I am destined to succeed. I am excited about this next step in my life and can't wait to see what the future holds for myself and for my Indiana teammates.”