Tegray Scales isn’t going anywhere.
Indiana’s All-American linebacker announced Monday that he will stay in Bloomington for his senior season, giving the Hoosiers one of the Big Ten’s most productive players at his position.
“I’d like to thank coach (William) Inge and coach (Tom) Allen for helping me through the process,” Scales said in a video posted by Indiana Athletics. “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.”
Scales’ decision is a significant development for Indiana, which saw his counterpart at linebacker, Marcus Oliver, declare for the NFL Draft on Friday. With Scales and All-Big Ten cornerback Rashard Fant committed to playing their final season of eligibility in 2017, the Hoosiers have the makings of a defense that should continue to improve in its second season under Allen.
Scales, who led the conference with 126 tackles, earned second team All-America honors from SI.com, becoming the first Indiana linebacker to claim that status in 30 years.
His 93 solo tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss led the nation, and during one stretch this past season, Scales strung together a streak of six consecutive double-digit tackle performances.
“Having Tegray back with us is huge,” Allen said. “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.”
While serving as IU’s first-year defensive coordinator last season, Allen raised the standard for Indiana’s defense, especially at linebacker — a position Allen played and coached for the bulk of his career. Upon his arrival, Allen told his charges that he’s never been part of a great defense that didn’t have great linebackers.
Scales and Oliver both responded with excellent seasons, anchoring a unit that jumped from No. 120 in total defense in 2015 to No. 45 in 2016.
Now, the Hoosiers can look toward the fall confident in their aspirations to continue building their defense knowing Scales will remain a part of it for one more year.
“To be able to have him here with us in year two is tremendous for our program,” Allen said. “I’m just so excited to have him back and for him to have a better senior season.”