BLOOMINGTON – Somewhere, Tom Allen is celebrating.
Because Indiana All-America linebacker Tegray Scales is returning for his senior season.
That is huge new for Allen, IU’s head coach and, basically, defensive coordinator. Scales had one of the best seasons a Cream ‘n Crimson linebacker has ever had, and now that he’s returning, a vastly improved defense could be even better next season.
In three seasons he has 33.5 tackles for loss.
As far as consistency, he had six straight games with at least 10 tackles, the longest streak in the nation, the longest in the Big Ten since 2012, and the longest for the Hoosiers since at least 1990.
There was a chance Scales could enter the NFL draft, as fellow Hoosier linebacker Marcus Oliver and tailback Devine Redding chose to do last week. But on Monday Scales announced he was staying through a university release:
"Hoosier Nation, I will be staying for my senior year. I'd like to thank Coach Inge and Coach Allen for helping me through the process. Coach Allen, for what he brought to this defense and now the whole team. I'm excited to be playing for him one more year and I'm excited to be playing with this team. Go Hoosiers!"
Scales is the first Indiana linebacker to earn All-America honors since Van Waiters did it in 1987.
"Having Tegray back with us is huge," Allen said in a release. "He was a catalyst for our defense, not only on the field with his production, but really in the very beginning when I first got here and challenged our team to make changes in their mentality and the way they prepared. He's been bought in from day one. To be able to have him here with us in year two is tremendous for our program. I'm just so excited to have him back and for him to have a better senior season."
Scales' nine double-figure tackle games in 2016 led the league and ranked third nationally. He also had seven sacks, a pick-6 and one forced fumble.