Monday, January 31, 2011
IU Football Makes Late Recruiting Push; Watford Out?
It’s not official, but it looks like new football coach Kevin Wilson is set to sign 20 players on Wednesday, the first day of the official signing period.
Wilson and his new staff got seven new commitments in the last two weeks, including five on Sunday.
The highest rated are Michael Hunter, a three-star (out of five) defensive back out of Louisiana, and Bernard Taylor, a three-star defensive tackle (listed at 6-2 and 281 pounds) out of Michigan.
Technically, Taylor is a re-commit. He originally picked the Hoosiers, backed out when Bill Lynch was fired and then committed again after an official visit.
The other new commitments are Illinois offensive lineman Peyton Eckert (6-6 and 285 pounds, two stars), Ohio offensive lineman David Kaminski (6-4, 275, no stars), Florida offensive lineman Gregory Lewis (6-5, 300, two stars), Florida defensive tackle Adarius Rayner (6-2, 260, two stars) and Florida defensive tackle Bobby Richardson (6-3, 265, two stars).
This shows a big push into the speed states of Florida and Louisiana. That gives you an idea of the Hoosiers’ commitment to improve the overall team speed. Wilson will run an uptempo offense and an aggressive, attacking defense. Both require fast, fit, athletic players.
Yes, there are no in-state players among the latest commitments. That likely reflects the lateness of the recruiting push caused by the coaching change and transition. All of the top in-state players had already committed to Indiana or other programs.
IU’s highest-rated recruit remains Zach Shaw, a four-star linebacker out of Ohio landed by Lynch and his staff.
Overall the class has 11 three-star players, seven two-star players, one four-star player and one unranked player.
Also, Ralston Evans a 6-4, 275-pound offensive lineman from Indianapolis Arlington graduated early from high school and has already signed a national letter of intent. He has a three-star rating and a No. 9 ranking in the state.
If you believe in national rankings, this class rates among the worst three in the Big Ten. According to Rivals.com, Ohio State has the Big Ten’s best recruiting class, at No. 11 nationally. Big Ten newcomer Nebraska is next at No. 15. Scout.com has Ohio State at No. 4 and Nebraska at No. 24.
Could Indiana lose another basketball player to injury?
Perhaps. Forward Christian Watford banged up his wrist and knee during Sunday night’s overtime loss at Michigan State. Coach Tom Crean said during Monday’s Big Ten teleconference that “it’s possible” those injuries could become a problem.
“We’re in the midst of (evaluating) that right now,” he said.
Losing Watford and his team-leading 17.0 scoring average and 5.8 rebounding average would be a big blow given IU already is without guards Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones because of knee injuries. Watford was coming off the best all-around game of his college career. He played through both injuries at Michigan State and totaled 21 points and five rebounds.
“Yesterday was the most competitive from start to finish that I’ve ever seen him,” Crean said.
It’s possible the nasty weather that is hitting Indiana and the rest of the Midwest could cause Wednesday night’s Minnesota game to be postponed.
Kit Klingelhoffer, IU’s assistant athletic director for game management, will stay in touch with Minnesota officials, referees and the state police to ensure everybody can get to Bloomington safely. The worst part of the storm –- a mix of ice and snow -- is expected to hit Tuesday night through Wednesday.
The final decision would be made by Indiana, Minnesota and the Big Ten office.