Thursday, August 12, 2010

IU's Doss Is The "Complete Package"

It’s good to be Indiana’s Tandon Doss these days.


Glad you asked.

First, he’s a returning All-Big Ten receiver.

Second, Sports Illustrated listed him among its Players to Watch along with Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and Purdue receiver Keith Smith.

Third, he’s a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the nation’s top receiver.

Fourth, and most important, he has a good haircut. If you’ve seen the cuts some of the Hoosiers have displayed, imagine a combination of Billy Ray Cyrus, Barry Manilow and the evil dude on No Country For Old Men.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

Doss, however, looks like he could make the cover of GQ Magazine, but he’s not in middle of training camp to look stylish. He is around to make plays and lead what should be one of the Big Ten’s best group of receivers.

Doss, a junior, is coming off one of the best seasons an IU receiver has ever had. He had 77 catches for 962 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked second in the Big Ten and 27th nationally in yards per game. He was third in the conference and 21st nationally in catches per game (6.64).

He led IU in receptions nine times and in receiving yards eight times. He had three 100-yard receiving games, plus added 553 yards on kickoff returns, 127 rushing yards, 44 punt-return yards and led the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game (138.8).

All this is why Indiana receiver coach Billy Lynch says, “He can be as good as any receiver in our league.”

Doss is listed at 6-3 and 195 pounds. He is fast and strong. He can beat you deep or over the middle.

And did we mention his hair cut?

“The biggest thing with him,” Lynch says, “is he’s a complete package. He can do it all. He’s big in the return game. He also runs down on the punt team.

“He’s a good route runner. He has terrific hands. He can run the deep ball, the intermediate routes. He can run on jet sweep stuff and reverses.”

Doss had one Achilles heel last year –- he fumbled four times. If he wants to maximize his college potential and get a shot in the NFL (it’s yes to both of those), that has to stop.

“Sometimes he gets a little casual with the ball,” Lynch says. “He put it on the ground four times last year which is four times too many. He also has to become a more consistent and effective blocker in the run game.”

Doss spent the off-season working on those areas. Starting with the Sept. 2 opener against Towson, we’ll see how good Tandon Doss can be.

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