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Debating the Best of the Rest: An Indiana Football Mount Rushmore

The BTN is partnering with SBNation and its Big Ten sites to determine a Mount Rushmore of four players for each football team in the conference.

Antwaan Randle El
Antwaan Randle El
Joe Robbins-USA TODAY Sports

For a better look at all of IU's candidates, I direct you to this article over at the Crimson Quarry, which lays out the criteria for why they were selected as the final 10 by BTN.

When we first heard that this collaboration was in the works, many of the writers here at OTE began listing off their personal lists of ten players that should be considered for their school's Rushmore. Of the players that made the final list for this vote for Indiana, I had two of their ten on my list, and only missed out on three because I had simply forgotten the third man. The two I expected to see on the list will likely also make up half of Indiana's Rushmore when it is announced, those two being Anthony Thompson and Antwaan Randle El. The third, George Taliaferro, is one of the leading candidates to be the third face on our Rushmore, based on early TCQ polling. However, as you will see when you look at the list, there are some names missing that many Hoosier fans probably expected to see.

To start with, there is only one player on the list who could be a considered a defensive player, as he played both ways back in the 40s (Pete Pihos, my personal choice as the 4th face). Now, particularly in recent years, Indiana is not known for having even a bad defense most years, but we've had some players from the defense take their talents to the NFL and find great success there (Tracy Porter immediately comes to mind, as does Adewale Ogunleye, at least for me). The lack of any real recognition for Hoosier defenders is strange and more than a little insulting.

Another point of contention that was raised over at TCQ is that no one from the 1967 Hoosiers, owners of IU's only Rose Bowl appearance ever, made the list. Harry Gonso and John Isenbarger were raised up as potential candidates who were passed over. While I admit to not having much familiarity with that team, the fact that arguably Indiana's best team ever had 0 players on the list was disappointing in hindsight.

The biggest flaw most people found with the list we'd been given is the lack of many recent players. Names like Tandon Doss, Levron Williams, James Hardy, Cody Latimer, even Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell were discussed as relatively recent Hoosiers who could have merited inclusion on the list but were apparently passed over.

And then there's Tevin. I don't know, maybe BTN didn't really want to include players still currently at school on their Rushmore lists (I haven't scouted anyone else's lists to confirm this, but it wouldn't surprise me if no one else has one either), but leaving the man who has single-handedly rewritten a good portion of the Indiana record book off the list seems more than just bewildering, it's bordering on willfully negligent. Recency bias aside, there has literally never been another 2,000 yard single season rusher at Indiana. The man whose single season record Tevin broke, Vaughn Dunbar, made the list, but Tevin did not. Something about that just feels wrong to me.

Unlike many other schools in the Big Ten, Indiana does not have a strong football tradition filled with players recognized with the highest accolades. Putting together a list of the 10 best or most memorable football Hoosiers was always going to be a tough challenge. I just wish we could have had a write in option for any players we the fans feel BTN might have missed. As it stands, I think our Rushmore will turn out just fine, but as with the real Mount Rushmore, there will be many people wondering why the newest inclusion is still fairly old.