Sunday, July 3, 2011

IU Football Recruiting – No Superstars? No Problem

By now you’ve probably noticed that IU is not beating out the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and Texas for its football recruiting commitments.

Is this a problem?

Not necessarily.

The Hoosiers have 11 commitments with the latest addition of Indianapolis Cathedral offensive lineman Jacob Bailey in what is basically coach Kevin Wilson’s first class and none of them rock the recruiting world.

No one makes anybody’s top 100 list. Nobody is a four- or five-star prospect.

Bailey, for instance, has no stars next to his name. IU’s recruiting competition was Ball State, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and other mid-majors. The other Hoosier commitments received similar mid-major offers.

Six of 11 commitments are three-star recruits according to Three are ranked nationally at their positions –- linebacker Nick Mangieri is No. 33, offensive lineman Dan Freeney is No. 44 and wide receiver Kevin Davis is No. 75.

If this were say, Oklahoma, this would be a problem. But Indiana is not going to beat out college football heavyweights for top players unless those players are in state and close by.

Say, like, Columbus East’s Gunner Kiel.

Kiel is a four-star guy being recruited by basically the entire civilized football world. He is 6-4 and 220 pounds. He is rated as the nation’s best quarterback and the No. 19 player overall. He is the younger brother of current IU quarterback Dusty Kiel. He comes from a family of quarterbacks.

Kiel plans to graduate from high school in December so he can enroll in college for the second semester, participate in spring practice and get a huge jump on the 2012 college season.

He says he has no strong preference on an offensive system, although you figure the wishbone would be out. Wilson, with his uptempo attack and reputation for explosive offenses, has a shot. But when the competition includes Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, USC, UCLA and Oregon, well, it’s not going to be easy.

That gets us back to the original question. Does the fact Wilson is not landing superstars, that he’s basically getting the same caliber of guys that Bill Lynch got, pose a problem?

No. First, Lynch did a solid job with recruiting. He upgraded the talent, both with the starters and backups. Maximizing that talent was a problem, especially on defense. Let’s just say what ultimately got Lynch was the quality of some of his assistant coaches. They were all great guys, but some weren’t quite Big Ten ready. Lynch’s loyalty to them cost him.

Anyway, IU has enough talent on its roster to win. The recruits Wilson is bringing in are good enough to win –- not national championships, not Big Ten titles, but enough to win seven games with a few breaks. It’s all about developing players and getting the most out of them.

Oh, yes, finding a quarterback.

Can Wilson do that?

We’ll start finding that out come this fall.


Bobby Capobianco is heading to Valparaiso. He’ll join a team that went 23-12 last season, although he’ll after to redshirt this season because of NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-9 Capobianco averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in his two-year IU career. He has two years of eligibility remaining.


  1. Well these recruits are good enough to win a few non-conference cupcake games and a Big Ten game now and then, not very exciting. Perhaps the best thing we can say is they aren't worth paying or breaking rules over and IU will always have a better record than those teams caught cheating who have to forfeit all of the games. Its nice to have a clean program.

  2. So are you saying that we most that we should expect from Wilson is to win 7 games occasionally when things break our way? I personally don't think that is enough. I don't expect us to win Big Ten titles but just 7 games? I don't think that will meet anyone's expectations.

  3. There is no problem with 3 star and no star recruits. Bill Mallory made a living with them and every "Big" program has lots of them as well. Unlike basketball, it is what you do with them once they are there that counts since a big heart and a lot "Rudy" in a player determines how they really turn out. A basketball players future usually (but always) becomes apparent by the time they are ready to graduate high school. Aferall, as Bob Knight once said "you can't teach seven foot."