Signing day updates . . .

So here’s a look at the Finch-free 2007 signing class Terry Hoeppner will announce this afternoon.

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. High School/Home
Chris Adkins DB 6-1 180 Warren Central
Jeff Boyd DT 6-2 275 Warren Central
Kevin Burrus DE 6-2 258 Coffeyville, Kan.
Dane Conwell LB 6-0 216 Upper St. Clair, Pa.
Max Dedmond TE 6-5 235 Evansville Central
Jarrell Drane DB 6-1 170 Plantation, Fla.
Matt Ernest WR 6-3 170 Crown Point
Mitchell Evans QB/S 6-3 190 West Milton, Ohio
Josh Hager OL 6-8 275 St. Louis
Chris Hagerup P 6-5 205 Whitefish Bay, Wis.
Darius Johnson RB 6-0 214 Highland Park, Mich.
Fred Jones DE 6-4 222 Tyrone, Ga.
Andrew McDonald OL 6-6 270 Warren Central
Ian Reeves LB 5-11 220 Ferndale, Mich.
Tyler Repogle LB 6-2 224 Centerville, Ohio
Teddy Schell QB 6-5 205 Barrington, Ill.
Eric Thomas DE 6-4 250 Cleveland
Zach Walker RB 5-8 176 Plantation, Fla.
Dennis Zeigler OL 6-7 310 Indianapolis Pike

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Herndon has picked Minnesota over Indiana, according to a video interview of him on the Web site for the Florida Times-Union. Click here to see that interview.
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Two Floridians have now returned their letters of intent, running back Zach Walker and cornerback Jarrell Drane, who were teammates at Plantation High School.

That leaves with 19 2007 recruits and only wide receiver Tray Herndon unaccounted for among the players who previously gave Indiana verbal commitments. Herndon has been recruited hard by Minnesota lately and he was one of the biggest question marks coming into today. So far, there’s been no word he has signed a letter of intent for any school.

As is often the case, the Florida players in this Indiana class offer some of the best speed in the class. It looks questionable whether Herndon will pick the Hoosiers at this point, but he if does he might give Hoeppner another playmaker on offense.
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The latest players to return their letters of intent to IU are Ohio QB/safety Mitchell Evans (who I think will wind up at safety eventually), Cleveland defensive end Eric Thomas, Georgia defensive end Fred Jones and St. Louis offensive lineman Josh Hager.

That brings the Hoosiers to having 14 players whose official commitments have rolled off the fax machine today. When you add the two 2007 recruits who are already on campus taking classes this semester – Wisconsin punter Chris Hagerup and JUCO defensive end Kevin Burrus – the 2007 class officially has 16 members at this point with probably fewer than five still to come in this afternoon.

Thomas and Jones are two of the key players in this class. They were relatively late additions at a position where the Hoosiers need more athleticism and both are among the highest-rated players in the class. They need to contribute early in their college careers for this class to give the Hoosiers the help they need on defense.

Hager is another one of those Hoeppner o-linemen with height. He’s 6-8! If Mike Davis had recruited players as tall as Hoeppner is bringing in, he might still be Indiana’s basketball coach.
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While some newspaper reports of Ian Reeves’ high school career listed his height at 6-1 and 230, I see that IU has him at 5-11 and 220. Amazing how these guys shrink from their scrapbook clippings to the time they arrive on campus.

His relatively short stature could be part of how IU landed him so late. He was tremendously productive in high school.
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IU has also received a letter of intent from Crown Point wide receiver Matt Ernest, according to the updates we’re now starting to get at iuhoosiers.com, which shows 10 recruits who have returned letters of intent that have been reviewed and approved by the IU compliance office.
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Reeves is listed at 6-1 and 230 pounds. He is a four-year high school starter. He was an AP and Detroit News First-Team All-State player in Class A.

Reeves set Ferndale High School records for tackles in a season (156) and career (401). He also earned four letters in wrestling and two in track.
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First surprise of the day: Indiana has received a letter of intent from Ferndale, Mich. linebacker Ian Reeves, a player who had not previously announced a verbal commitment to the Hoosiers.

IU also now has letters of intent in hand from Illinois quarterback Teddy Schell, Michigan running back Darius Johnson and the three Warren Central kids who signed their letters in the ceremony this morning — offensive lineman Andrew McDonald, defensive back Chris Adkins and defensive end Jeff Boyd.
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Dedmond (6-5, 235) is one of the top-rated players in IU’s recruiting class. The Evansville Central senior reportedly had scholarship offers form Purdue and Louisville, among others.

He has said he expects to play tight end at IU, but as little as the Hoosiers throw the ball to the tight end, you’d think he might end up back on defense as a lineman, even though he was a standout linebacker in high school, or even on the offensive line eventually.

Dedmond doesn’t sound fast enough to play linebacker at the Big Ten level, so he’s a guy we can expect to see putting on some weight over the next couple of years to prepare for college play. He sounds like a likely redshirt candidate to me.

One funny thing I heard about Dedmond was that Billy Lynch used to send him text messages that said only “2:18”, the amount of time it takes to drive from Evansville to Bloomington.

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Zeigler is another one of these interesting projects Hoeppner has been bringing in on the offensive line. A basketball player first, he came to football late in high school and didn’t have a particularly distinguished football career at Pike, at least compared to what you expect for a major college recruit.

But Zeigler is 6-7 and 310. Reminds you of last year’s project, 6-8 James Brewer from Indianapolis Arlington who was redshirted but looked good in practice by the end of the season.
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A source close to the football program says IU has received four letters of intent so far. They are from Pennsylvania linebacker Dane Conwell, Pike offensive lineman Dennis Zeigler, Evansville Central tight end Max Dedmond and Ohio linebacker Tyler Replogle.
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I just talked with IU media relations staff and was told that they are waiting for IU’s compliance staff to review the letters of intent they have received so far this morning before posting those signees on iuhoosiers.com. So there will still be updates there thoroughout the day, but it may take a while before they get rolling.
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The latest report from Warren Central on Peegs.com is that Mike Pegram is at the school and Finch has now signed his letter of intent to attend Florida.

The fact that Finch so seriously considered IU’s program raises the Hoosiers’ profile somewhat, but it’s still awfully tough for both coaches and fans to have such a high-profile player say he’s headed to Bloomington and then change his mind at the last minute. These back-and-forth recruiting stories seem to get crazier every year.

Recruiting rankings may not mean much in terms of whether a school is getting the players it needs to improve, but they do matter for the reputation of the football program. The loss of Finch will throw the Hoosiers back to close to the bottom spot in the Big Ten in the recruiting rankings again this year. Signing Finch would really have been a breakthrough in getting the big-name in-state recruit they’ve been consistently missing on for the past decade.

It will be interesting to see what Hoeppner says this afternoon in talking about the IU recruiting class. Hoeppner will certainly be asked about Finch when he meets with the media before his 5 p.m. reception for season ticket holders.
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Message board reports from people at the Warren Central signing day event are indicating that Finch showed up there wearing a Florida hat, but three other IU commits – defensive end Jeff Boyd, defensive back Chris Adkins and offensive lineman Andrew McDonald – were wearing IU hats. So it appears last night’s reports about Finch, the top prize in IU’s recruiting class, bolting to Florida were correct.
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This ought to be one of the more interesting Indiana football signing days in recent years with a resolution to the Jerimy Finch mystery and updates from IU thoughout the day on which players have returned their letters of intent.

Hopefully, we’ll hear something definitive soon from the Circle City on Finch. He’s one of eight Warren Central players expected to announce his decision at 7:45 a.m. ceremony at the school.

We’ll pass along all the information we hear throughout the day right here. So grab some coffee and forget about being productive on this snowy Wednesday.

6 comments

  1. If he does sign with Florida, it will be a blow for the Hoosiers recruiting class, but not the end of the world. This is a young man, who had a lot thrown at him, and had to make the best decision for him. Good Luck with that. I would rather him be at Michigan, or any other school than Florida.

  2. Teddy Schell did return his letter of intent today. He is now officially a member of the 2007 recruiting class. And I agree that he sounds like a good prospect.

  3. Teddy Schell is a very good prospect, but do we really need another QB? We already have Kellen Lewis, and red shirt freshman Ben Chappel, who in my opinion is a better QB than Lewis, just not as fast. I guess a little depth, and the ability to red shirt Schell makes him a good prospect for the future.

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