Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 5, 2016

Indiana enjoyed a breakthrough season in Kevin Wilson's fifth year in Bloomington, taking the Hoosiers to their first bowl since 2007 and just their second since 1993. Alas, IU still hasn't finished over .500 since 1994. And it last won a bowl in 1991. But progress is being made.

Wilson has built a strong program around a dynamic offense that can run, pass and score points in bunches. The future looks promising for Indiana, as Wilson continues to recruit well. The next order of business: develop the defense, which remains an albatross around the program. The Hoosiers were last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (37.6 ppg) and total defense (509.5 ypg).

Some key personnel returns for Indiana, including players like WRs Simmie Cobbs and Ricky Jones, G Dan Feeney and RB Devine Redding on offense. CB Rashard Fant, S Chase Dutra and LBs T.J. Simmons, Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver return on defense. And K Griffin Oakes is back, too.

But Wilson also has some key holes to fill moving forward in 2016 coming off a 6-7 season. Players like C Jake Reed, LB Zack Shaw and DT Adarius Rayner are gone. But here are the five biggest losses.

RB Jordan Howard. The UAB transfer had an immediate impact for the Hoosiers, rushing 196 times for 1,213 yards and nine TDs and averaging 6.2 yards per carry. If not for injuries that limited him to nine games, Howard's numbers would have been even more prolific. A tough, physical runner, Howard opted to turn pro early.

DT Darius Latham. An athletic freak who was a standout prep basketball player, Latham had 10 TFLs and four sacks and opted to turn pro early. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten.

DE Nick Mangieri. An honorable mention All-Big Ten choice, Mangieri was a force off the edge, pacing the team with 12.0 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. His energy and passion will be missed.

OT Jason Spriggs. He was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten pick who helped the Hoosiers ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring (36.5 ppg) and No. 1 in total offense (504.3 ypg). An athletic tackle who started four seasons, Spriggs also was instrumental in the Hoosiers having the No. 2 rushing attack in the Big Ten (210.5 ypg).

QB Nate Sudfeld. In addition to leading the Hoosiers in all-time passing yardage and touchdowns, he is first in 200-yard (19), 300-yard (10) and 350-yard (5) games, tied for first in three-touchdown games (9), tied for second in completions (565) and 250-yard games (12), is third in total offense (7,602) and is fifth in attempts (932). Few have done it better than Sudfeld, an all-time IU great. He was consensus third-team All-Big Ten after leading the conference in passing yards (3,573) and TD tosses (27), as well as passing efficiency.