In April, IU’s football program extended its streak of having an NFL draft pick to nine seasons, after the New York Giants selected Micah McFadden in the fifth round. McFadden was one of many Hoosiers who stood out in the first week of games this season. Who else grabbed headlines?
The star of the weekend, as far as IUFB alumni were concerned, was former LB/DB Marcelino McCrary-Ball, who started for the 49ers, picked off a Jordan Love pass, and returned it back to Packers territory. McCrary-Ball signed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent after six years at Indiana, where he was named a 247Sports True Freshman All-American. However, two season-ending injuries, in 2017 and 2020, added obstacles to his Indiana career. McCrary-Ball’s pro career is off to an auspicious beginning, and he’s turning heads in the Bay Area. His next chance to impress comes Saturday in Minnesota.
One of the most accomplished QBs in Indiana history, Nate Sudfeld played for the Hoosiers from 2012-2015. Beginning his seventh year as an NFL QB, and second with the 49ers, Sudfeld found Ray-Ray McCloud for a long touchdown one play after McCrary-Ball’s electrifying interception. Sudfeld ended the game 8-11, with 103 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating ended at an excellent 132.0. The 49ers defeated Green Bay, 28-21.
Back on Thursday, McFadden, IU’s 2022 NFL Draft pick, made a number of key plays during his first snaps as a New York Giants linebacker against Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. McFadden recorded two stops and lined up all over the field in Don Martindale’s defense. McFadden, who finished his Indiana career with 216 tackles, 14 sacks, and 2020 AP All-America honors, is projected to make the Giants 53-man roster as things stand, but final decisions come August 30.
A teammate of McFadden’s in New York, DE Ryder Anderson tied for the team lead with three tackles in the Giants’ 23-21 victory over the Patriots. Anderson was one of four Giants with a tackle for loss, featured below. Anderson, who tallied 3.5 sacks and 8.5 TFL at Indiana last season. He signed with the Giants in May after impressing in their rookie mini-camp. Anderson and McFadden next play Sunday night at home against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
After his time as the most successful tight end in Indiana history, Peyton Hendershot wore the classic Dallas Cowboys uniform for the first time in his career on Saturday night in Denver. Not only did he bring in two catches on four targets, Hendershot also had a big reception called back due to penalty. The undrafted free agent from Tri-West High School is projected on the Cowboys roster bubble, but trending in the right direction, after Saturday’s 17-7 defeat to the Broncos.
Back in the 2021 NFL Draft, safety Jamar Johnson kept IU’s selection streak going, when the Denver Broncos picked him in the fifth round. Johnson earned First team All-Big Ten selection in 2020 in his final season with the Hoosiers. Going into year two, Johnson collected a team-high five tackles and nearly intercepted Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci. After the game, Johnson appeared in a photo of former Hoosiers, with Hendershot, RB Stevie Scott, and WR Ty Fryfogle. Scott led the Broncos with 20 rushing yards, and Fryfogle did not suit up for Dallas.
After playing in 41 games for Indiana, Caleb Jones snagged a spot on the Packers’ roster as an undrafted free agent. On Friday, he played a long stretch of snaps as the Packers’ left tackle in San Francisco. Packers writers and fans have taken notice of the 6-foot-9 lineman out of Lawrence North High School. Jones’ next exhibition game will take place Friday night at Lambeau Field vs. the Saints.
Tegray Scales and Raheem Layne
Scales, who excelled at Indiana from 2014-2017, and Layne, who played from 2017-2021, both saw the field and put up solid numbers for their respective teams. After recently signing with the Bengals, Scales had three tackles on Friday night. Layne, who signed as a UDFA with the Chargers earlier this offseason, had two tackles. Keep an eye out for both players this week as they try to make their team.
Former Hoosiers Jordan Howard, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Rodger Saffold, Tevin Coleman, Dan Feeney, Jason Spriggs, and Ian Thomas received little or no playing time in the first weekend of the preseason.
Photo by Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle