Friday, June 18, 2010
Why Wait -- Indiana Football Recruiting Roll Continues
Suddenly Bill Lynch is on a recruiting roll. Indiana’s football coach is getting the guys he wants, and if they’re not the same guys Urban Meyer wants, who cares.
Lynch has always been about getting players who WANT to be at Indiana, who are good athletes and versatile performers, guys who will take maximum advantage of what the Hoosiers offer as far as football, academics and overall development.
He’s also about getting these guys to commit as soon as possible and for the second straight year he’s close to wrapping up his next class before July 1.
Case in point is defensive end C.J. Robbins from Illinois. His oral commitment is the Hoosiers’ 15th, and fourth in the last few days. He committed after a one-day football camp at Indiana, which followed an unofficial visit to the campus.
IU beat out Illinois State, Ball State, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois to land Robbins, a three-star player. Yes, none of those schools will challenge for BCS glory, but that’s not the point. Upgrading the talent level is the point and Lynch has done that the last few seasons.
The 6-4, 240-pound Robbins has a 29-inch vertical jump. He runs a 4.9 40-yard dash. IU coaches see him as a potential offensive tackle in the mold of ex-Hoosier Rodger Saffold, the No. 33 pick in the recent NFL Draft.
The Hoosiers also landed a pair of in-state defensive backs in Kenny Mullen of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers and Center Grove’s Nick Stoner. There’s also Ohio defensive back Mark Murphy.
The 5-10, 178-pound Mullen, who has been timed in 4.46 seconds for the 40-yard dash, is rated as the nation’s No. 75 cornerback. He’s a versatile player who rushed for nearly 1,100 yards and 30 touchdowns last season while helping the Knights win the Class 2A state championship. He also caught 21 passes for 251 yards and a TD, and excelled as a kick returner.
“The Indiana coaches told me they recruited me as as a corner, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if I went both ways if I position myself in that aspect,” Mullen said. “They like what I did on offense, and also what I did on defense. I’ll just wait until I get there and see what fits.”
Stoner isn’t the biggest guy in the world at 6-1 and 155 pounds, but he is fast. He’s run the 100 meters in 10.72 seconds, and finished second in the state meet earlier this month. He needs to gain weight and if he can do that and maintain his speed, the Hoosiers will have a very special player.
That also could be true of Murphy, a 6-2, 195-pound safety. He chose Indiana over Air Force, Arizona and Kent State.
IU’s emphasis on defense is obvious. Eleven of its 15 commitments are defensive players. That unit has been a major problem in the last 15 years. The defense has to improve to at least middle of the Big Ten status if the Hoosiers are to consistently challenge for bowl bids.
Indiana figures to sign around 20 players during February’s national signing period. It will likely save a few scholarships for really special players or late-developing guys who have monster senior years.
Who might those guys be? That's a topic for another day.