Friday, June 25, 2010
Now What -- 18 Commitments Give IU Intriguing Possibilities
So what would you do if you were coach Bill Lynch and have all but wrapped up your football recruiting class for 2011 before vacation time?
Yes, football coaches take vacations, mostly in July because that’s between the end of their summer camps and the start of their preseason camp. NCAA rules keep them away from their own players and recruiting is on low burner. Of course, after the recruiting June Indiana just had, coaches have earned some time away.
The Hoosiers picked up 10 commitments in the last few weeks and now have 18 overall. The latest was Cincinnati receiver Jay McCants, who has good size (6-5 and 200 pounds) and decent speed (4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash). He had an offer from Buffalo and was getting long looks from Purdue, West Virginia, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Louisville and Wisconsin.
There’s a chance the Hoosiers won’t keep all 18 of these commitments, but that’s true for every program. IU coaches will continue to recruit these guys and most will sign next February.
You figure the pace will slow down. No other Big Ten team has gotten so many early commitments. Penn State, for instance, has one. Ohio State has 15.
This summer blitz isn’t an aberration. IU had 21 commitments by Aug. 1 of last year, including 11 in July.
Lynch’s strategy is simple –- go after good players who are good fits, get them to commit early, redshirt most of them, develop all of them, and reap the benefits.
Those benefits haven’t produced bowl bids the last two years, but the upgrade in talent is obvious, at least on paper. Now it has to produce on the field.
The commitment surge is helped by IU’s Midwest focus. All the commitments are from the central part of the country –- Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas.
Yes, some coaches, including Purdue’s Danny Hope, hit the Southeast hard, particularly Florida. Why? Because there’s a ton of speed and athleticism there. It seems that part of the country has more fast players than anywhere else, and if you don’t recruit that area, you have no long-term chance in the profession.
IU, by the way, does recruit that area. It has players from Georgia and Florida, plus the equally talent-rich states of Texas and California.
Here’s the deal. IU has a few scholarships remaining. Why not use them to go after some 5-star studs?
The key, of course, is having a realistic shot at these studs. It would help if the state of Indiana had some 5-star guys in the Class of 2011. It does not. It would be good if there was a connection, say the IU coaches know the kid’s high school coach or parents. Maybe the kid’s family went to Indiana. Something like that.
The Hoosiers are in the mix for three-star players such as defensive linemen James Adeyanju and Keith Heitzman (peegs.com has a great list with its defensive hot board), but wouldn’t it be nice if say the nation’s No. 1 prospect according to Rivals.com, defensive end Jadeveon Clownes, would consider the Hoosiers.
Yes, the competition is fierce. Alabama, LSU, USC and Georgia are in the mix for the 6-6, 242-pound standout from South Carolina. IU would probably make better use of time and money by going after someone else.
Still, on a warm summer day in Bloomington with a solid group of commitments lined up and all things possible, it’s okay to dream.
Reality is for the fall.