Knorr: Nobody has a bigger passion to be great than Darius Latham

When he pulled down Marcus Murphy in the backfield on the first play of Indiana’s upset win at Missouri two weeks ago, Indiana defensive tackle Darius Latham quickly pulled himself off the turf, threw his fist into the air and butted heads with linemate Adarius Rayner.

Latham’s opening play against the Tigers set the tone for the Hoosiers’ biggest upset win in 27 years, and he followed with a performance that IU coach Kevin Wilson called Latham’s best to date on Saturday against Maryland.

Latham finished with four tackles, including three solo stops, and one for a loss against the Terrapins, earning Indiana’s weekly defensive honors for his steady performance. For the year, Latham has seven tackles, including two TFLs.

“We need to keep him coming along,” Wilson said. “He’s been here not quite two full years. Played some last year, not a lot, still in the rotation mix. The more he plays, hopefully the better he gets. There is a lot of football for him in front of him. He’s got a long way to go. He can be so much better and it’s good to see him gaining on it.”

IU defensive coordinator Brian Knorr said this week that Latham is beginning to come into his own as a sophomore. A year after earning honorable mention honors on BTN.com’s All-Big Ten Freshman Team, Latham is forming a better understanding of how to play defense at the next level.

He’s understanding his role on Indiana’s defensive line and he’s becoming better for it. More than anything, Knorr sees Latham’s passion to excel — a good sign for a young player with a high ceiling.

“He’s not gonna make every play,” Knorr said. “Sometimes he has to leverage a block or be able to (take) certain responsibilities in the pass rush. I just feel like he’s getting better and better at understanding what coach (Larry) McDaniel is teaching him. I think Darius is a guy that, from an attitude and a want-to, I don’t know if we have anybody that has a bigger passion to be great.”