Transfers Linder, Roof eager to join Hoosiers

Nick Linder needed time.

Rather than feeling rushed and unprepared for his final season of eligibility at Miami, the senior center decided to step away from football last fall. Shoulder injuries had limited Linder’s time on task in recent years, and entering the Hurricanes’ 2017 fall camp, the veteran lineman had an epiphany.

“I didn’t want to limp into my senior season,” Linder said. “I wanted to go full steam ahead.”

So he returned home to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., spent the fall training and recovering, and went looking for his next opportunity.

He found it at Indiana.

Linder officially joined IU’s program as a graduate transfer earlier this month, enrolling for the spring semester to bolster Indiana’s offensive line come the fall. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound veteran will be counted on to provide stability at a center position that operated as a rotating door at Indiana last season.

After a year away from the game, Linder is ready for his return.

He’s one of two Atlantic Coast Conference transfers brought in by the Hoosiers this off-season, joining former Georgia Tech linebacker T.D. Roof, a sophomore who will sit out the upcoming season per NCAA transfer rules.

“I played a lot of football my first three years at Miami, but unfortunately I had a couple shoulder injuries,” said Linder, who started 26 games during his time with the Hurricanes. “I was able to graduate at the end of the summer and I just found myself getting cleared for contact way too soon. I didn’t feel like my body was ready to do what I wanted to do.

“I never had the opportunity to utilize that redshirt season and utilize that off-season to develop my body in order to take my game to that next step. I felt like I was always playing catch-up in the off-season. So I took that five-, six-month period, did what I had to do, worked on my body, got myself stronger and did all that good stuff and found an opportunity. That was Indiana.”

Last season at center, the Hoosiers used redshirt sophomore Hunter Littlejohn and true freshman Harry Crider to varying results. As a whole, IU’s young and injury-prone offensive line struggled through a season of ineffective play during the 2017 campaign.

Indiana hopes Linder can help stabilize the group, while providing a veteran presence once spring practice begins on March 3.

Linder started all 13 games at center for Miami in 2015, then started the first nine at center in 2016 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in November of that year. He also started four games at left guard as a freshman in 2014.

Separate shoulder injuries caused Linder to miss spring practice in both 2016 and 2017.

With a year to refresh, Linder is ready for one more go-around with the Hoosiers.

“Having a little experience and wisdom about certain situations, I feel like I can sort of bestow some of that on other guys,” Linder said. “They’re gonna do the exact same thing for me. It’s exciting. I could tell that from the start when I was up here on my recruiting visit that this is gonna be a good group.”

Meanwhile, Roof is coming to terms with the thought of not playing the upcoming season.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound linebacker spent his first college season with the Yellow Jackets working under his father, Ted, who spent the past five seasons as Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator before latching onto North Carolina State’s staff in December.

Roof played in each of Georgia Tech’s 11 games this past fall, making 17 tackles with a pair of sacks.

“It’s going to be weird when football season comes around and I’m not gonna be able to suit up on game days, but you prepare for it the best you can,” Roof said. “I’m sure it’s gonna hit me pretty hard during the season. But hey, you gotta move on.”

With his father moving to a new job, Roof was ready to move to a new school. When he decided he would transfer, Roof contacted Indiana’s staff to gauge interest.

IU coach Tom Allen and former linebackers coach William Inge, who will serve as Indiana’s special teams coordinator this season, recruited Roof out of high school. Their response to Roof?

“We’d love to have you here,” they told him.

“I feel like Coach Allen is a very standup dude and a very true dude,” Roof said. “He’s true to his word. I really respect that.”

Roof is also looking forward to receiving coaching from Allen and new linebackers coach Kane Wommack. Allen, with his background as a linebackers coach, prioritizes the position, often saying he’s never seen a great defense that didn’t have great linebackers.

During his two years with IU’s program, including last season as a first-year head coach, Allen has reshaped the Hoosiers’ defense. In 2017, Indiana finished No. 27 nationally in total defense, allowing 340.1 yards per game.

It’s a unit — and a linebacking corps — Roof is eager to join.

“Obviously, you’ve got two great linebackers that are walking out the door right now in Tegray (Scales) and Chris (Covington),” Roof said. “There’s definitely an emphasis (on the position) that they gotta run the show and they gotta get everybody lined up. I’m just very excited to get started learning the defense and see where it goes.”

5 comments

  1. Just as Double Down mentioned on another thread IUFB has landed another Florida “athlete”. Jamar Johnson IIRC, big, rangy presumed DB. Hudl film establishes him as a real meateater on D and an “I want the ball” type on offense. He offers lots of possibilities to IU.
    After just little look back I now believe this class to be more likely to make a bigger on field impact than the 2013 class. This recruiting improvement will continue to elevate if the offense can produce a versatile, consistent offense.

  2. I love it when established players from Power-Five Conference teams transfer to IU. I love what Roof said about Tom Allen and how, after being recruited by Allen in the past, he reached out to him after deciding to transfer. I’m sure he had more than one option, and the fact that he chose IU and Allen is a very positive sign. Keep em coming coach.

  3. I mentioned this on another thread and will say it again. Like HC and Po, I really like they way recruiting is going, especially the southern connection. While it is good to get as many quality recruits as you can from Indiana and the region, the problem is supply and demand. There are too many Big Ten heavyweights concentrated in to small a talent pool for IU to compete with it’s lack of quality football tradition.

    In the southern part of the country there is too much talent for too few schools. No coincidence schools like Alabama have 4th string 4 and 5 star players. Pulling from Florida and other deep south states should be a no-brainer. There are players at small southern schools who could easily start at a Big Ten school of their choice. Unfortunately, they get overlooked because they may be in a very out of the way area. Beefing up the recruiting budget to go into these areas and offer these players a chance to play D1 power 5 conference football could be a possible solution.

    Not prepared to say IU could pull it off and make the program a success, but it is certainly worth the try.

  4. Linder and roof are very good addition to IUFB. Linder should help solidify the OL that has talent and just need to solidify to be good. I hope Linder provides the leadership needed.
    Roof will be a good addition to the LB room and give IU a LB that has Power 5 experience when he can hit the field in 2019.

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