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Second Year Profiles: Micah Kiser

Assuming Henry Coley stays healthy, the Hoos won't need Kiser very much this year. Sure, he'll be an asset on special teams, but he isn't likely to see the field on defense much (outside of garbage time). But he'll get some experience on the field and next year, the MLB position is all his.

When Coley moves on after this year, MLB will be Kiser's position.
When Coley moves on after this year, MLB will be Kiser's position.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As a four-star recruit out of The Gilman School in Baltimore, Kiser had scholarship offers from all over the country. He was rated as one of the top 20 or so LBs in the country. Some schools saw him as an OLB, but the Hoos were always looking at him as an ILB. This has been a position of need for some time, as a few of the potential ILB candidates Mike London has recruited have either outgrown the position (see Vincent Croce and Kwontie Moore) or left the school (Caleb Taylor).

Coming out of HS, Kiser was a bit undersized. At 215 pounds, you can't really play MLB at this level. Trying to tackle a RB who is bigger than you isn't easy. Current starting MLB Henry Coley is nearly 250 pounds. So, Kiser needed to get bigger. This was the main reason he was always considered a redshirt candidate.

Kiser is quick. Far quicker than Henry Coley or his predecessor (Steve Greer). He still isn't as big as either of them, but he's up to 235 now and that is plenty big enough. His speed advantage makes him a more dangerous sideline-to-sideline player, and also gives him an advantage in pass coverage. He may not yet have the fill-the-gap ability that Coley and Greer had, but then again he's just a redshirt freshman.

One of Kiser's strengths is his ability to move in space. He can use a quick first step and very good change-of-direction skills to beat blockers to the spot and get to the ballcarrier. That ability also makes him a very good zone defender. He can flow through traffic over the middle of the field and break on the ball when it is thrown.

MLB, especially in Jon Tenuta's attacking defense, isn't an easy position to play. There are a lot of reads to make, and the MLB often has responsibility for all runs in between the tackles. That is a lot of responsibility for a young guy and Kiser probably isn't ready for it. Luckily, Coley has been very reliable over his career. Kiser will play extensively on special teams, where his combination of size and quickness will be a big asset. He can do everything from rush the punter to cover kickoffs and could even work as a wedge blocker on returns.

That playing experience on special teams will get him ready to be our starting MLB next year. It looks like the Hoos have brought in some talented MLB recruits during the current recruiting cycle, including Jahvoni Simmons and C.J. Stalker. If Kiser manages to reach his potential, those guys will be spending a lot of time on the bench over their first few years in the program.