Darius Latham will enter NFL Draft #iufb

Indiana junior defensive tackle Darius Latham will forego his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft, the school announced Wednesday.

Latham earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition this season after posting 33 tackles, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 11 games this season. He recorded his first career interception in Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl against Duke and finished seventh in the nation with two blocked kicks.

As good as Latham was on the field, his season was marked by a pair of suspensions. He was one of nine players suspended for IU’s season opener and also missed the Hoosiers’ Oct. 3 game against Ohio State while a case involving him was investigated by IU’s Office of Student Ethics.

Through Indiana’s sports information department, Latham released a statement regarding his future plans.

“Playing in the NFL has been a dream of mine, and I will put in the work and effort to make this dream come true.

“Thank you to my parents and my family for their assistance during this process. Your prayers and support mean everything to me. You will always serve as my motivation, and without you I would not be in the position I am in right now.

“I am especially thankful for the opportunity to have played and learned from Coach Wilson. He and the coaching staff not only made me a better player, but were focused on me as a complete person. I would also like to thank Coach Hill and the strength and conditioning team for helping me to get stronger and faster, and Christa Sist in Academics for keeping me focused and on top of my work.

“I chose IU over other colleges because it was home, and I believed in what we could build here. We accomplished some good things and I will miss playing with my family, especially my D-line brothers. Indiana University is a special place and I am grateful to be a Hoosier for life. Go IU!”

Originally a Wisconsin commit, Latham was one of the headlining members of Indiana’s heralded 2013 recruiting class, which focused on bringing in some of the top talent in the state. Latham was one of three four-star in-state recruits to sign with the class, but each member of that trio — which also included safety Antonio Allen and defensive end David Kenney — has since left the program for various reasons.

Latham’s departure is a major blow to an Indiana defensive line that was developing into a respectable Big Ten front. At 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, Latham had a unique blend of size and athleticism that made him a featured player on coach Larry McDaniel’s defensive line. The Hoosiers will also have to replace graduating senior defensive end Nick Mangieri, along with bandit Zack Shaw.

Latham is the second IU player to declare for the NFL Draft this week, following running back Jordan Howard’s announcement on Monday.

8 comments

  1. Can’t blame him for his desire to pursue his dream, but unlike Howard’s decision, I think this one is ill advised. He does not enjoy the notoriety Howard does, and the “issues” that caused him to be suspended this season, whatever they were, will raise doubts about his character/maturity, causing him to slip in the draft, if he gets drafted at all. Perhaps not for physical reasons, but to correct the impression that he has “character” or discipline issues, another year of highly productive performance without any suspensions would have been the wiser choice. Having said that, I don’t know what his academic record looks like, and I wish him well and hope he enjoys a long career in the NFL.

  2. GOOD LUCK, to Jordan Howard and Darius Latham in the pursuit of your dreams to play in the NFL…hopefully both of you will have long and great NFL careers…..losing both of these players really lets you know how a team rosters can change from one year to the next……both of these players will be greatly missed….really explains why depth is so important on any BIG 10 rosters…IU is not Ohio State or Michigan, programs that have the ability to replace great athletics that leave early…..Coach Wilson and his staff have done an excellent job of trying to rebuild this program.

  3. Best wishes pursuing your dream young Mr. Latham. Thank you for committing to IU, and helping to change the program’s perception. Whether drafted or not, you CAN reach your goal…just ask Bobby Richardson (undrafted; 2015 New Orleans Saints starter). Dig In & Go Get It. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  4. This decision was a surprise to me for the reasons Podunker gives and I agree another year without problems seems like it would have been the better choice. I guess he saw what Richardson did this year and decided he could do the same or better. I wish him well and coach McDaniel will have his work cut out for him. Coach has improved the DL since coming on board so I hope he has some players to step in for the three that are leaving.

    This is what makes coaching IU football such a tough long road. The big program have an easier job replacing departing players. This staff has improved the roster but there is still work to be done to get a roster capable of replacing departing players no matter who they are. This is an opportunity for backup players to step up and show they have the ability to compete in the Big Ten.

  5. Po, character issues don’t hurt you like they used to. The kid from Ole Miss that fell out the window and had drugs in his room will still be a top 10 draft pick because he can play and has great potential. If a team thinks that Latham can help them they will draft him despite any history he may have. Hardy proves that with Dallas.

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