IU secures 8th football commitment

Marlandez Harris, an offensive lineman from Springfield, Ill, has verbally committed to Indiana.

Harris, who stands 6-foot-3.5 and weighs 265 pounds, had offers from Purdue and Louisville, as well as a host of FCS-level schools.

But after a trip to the one-day camp last week on campus, Harris was ready to commit.

“I liked the campus,” Harris said. “I want to major in business and they have a really good school in the Kelley School.”

Harris said he knew he wanted to play in the Big Ten, and the chance to play early was important to him.

The IU staff has indicated he’ll have a chance of doing that, likely at center. Harris said he’s planning on gaining 20-25 pounds before August 2010 and the start of fall camp.

“He will have no problem (gaining weight),” Sacred Heart Griffin coach Ken Leonard said. “He’ll be a 290 guy with a drop of the hat.”

Leonard said Harris started at offensive right tackle last season, because the team had a left-handed quarterback. This year, with a right-handed quarterback, Harris will play left tackle.

He also started playing on the defensive line during the eighth game of the season and was key to Sacred Heart Griffin winning the 6A state championship.

17 comments

  1. Appears to be a solid pick up. Some good things said about him from coverage of some combines.

    Neither of the recruiting services has this kid rated. He did have offers from Purdue, Louisville, Illinois St., Indiana St., Southern and Eastern Illinois.

    Bettor won’t be happy, the kid isn’t rated 4-stars.

  2. Bettor is never happy.

    He will be ranked eventually (3 stars?). Jibreel Black had no stars for a long time despite his huge offer list, and Kates is somehow still unranked.

  3. The key here will be the staffs continued communication with these recruits even after their verbal commitments. I think every IU fan probably has some reservation about jumping for joy just yet over these signings (especially the more notable pickups) because we’ve seen players in the past de-commit after being recruited more heavily by other, more established programs.

    Regardless, it does seem that the staff is working hard and making some ground on the recruiting front. They must really be milking the new facilities for all they’re worth. I’ll be interested to see how this class turns out when it’s all said and done.

    When can players start officially signing?

  4. Casey,

    Signing day is in February. As for the de-commits from last year, a 3-9 season following a bowl bid and some very aggressive outside recruiting is going to make 4-star kids step back and re-evaluate.

    The other notable de-commit you would be talking about is Finch, he verballed to 2 different schools his senior year before signing with a 3rd only to end up back at the 2nd. When you considered he bailed on 1 school because of an impending coaching change, and the 2nd school because the National Champions came knocking with a freshman starting position. Hard not to expect him to jump.

    Something in my gut tells me these guys are going to be solid verbals, it just doesn’t feel like they will waffle. Could be wrong though.

  5. Mike,

    Thanks for the heads up. I remember all the hoopla surrounding Finch’s commitment to IU, and the disappointment of his decision to leave. I certainly do hope your inclinations prove to be right. I think our ability to get solid commits and retain them will be an indicator of progress in itself, and would obviously bode well for future years’ teams.

    It seems like Black is a unique player too — almost as if our lack of success is a major reason for him wanting to play here. That’s rare in a young guy with talent, but hopefully he can help start a trend.

    Some people believe Kates may not end up at IU, however, because he’s apparently receiving a lot more attention now than when he originally committed to play with us.

    It will all just be very interesting. But I think the positive news on the recruiting end recently is already helping fans feel a tiny bit better about where the program is going.

  6. Since we are talking football recruiting. Has anyone out there heard of a kid named Evan Berry? He is the son of former Vols running back James Berry and the younger brother of Tennessee saftey Eric Berry.

    Evan is 13 years old, has never played a down of high school football but apparently has impressed Lane Kiffen enough to have recieved a scholarship offer and has given a verbal to play at TN.

  7. Mike P.,
    Berry has not been offered a scholarship (Offering a scholarship to a person this young is in violation of NCAA rules even Lane Kiffin’s not that stupid). Berry has “committed” to Tennessee, but no scholarship has been offered to him.

  8. Tennessee Correction,

    This is from an article on sportsillustrated.cnn.com titled:

    Offering scholarship to 13-year-old Berry smart gamble for Kiffin, Vols

    Scientists have argued Nature vs. Nurture for decades; college football coaches have not. On the gridiron, quality genes (Nature) have proven excellent predictors for success. The Mannings (Archie, Peyton, Eli) and three generations of Matthewses (Clay, Bruce, Clay Jr., Clay III) are prime examples.

    Yet everyone seems so surprised that Evan Berry, the 13-year-old brother of star Tennessee safety Eric Berry, has committed to play for the Volunteers as the first member of the class of 2013. Offering a scholarship to a random 13-year-old probably isn’t the most prudent recruiting gamble, but in this case, Vols coach Lane Kiffin is doubling down on 11. Berry’s father, James, was a star running back at Tennessee. Eric might be the nation’s best collegiate safety. Evan has a twin brother, Elliot, who also could eventually climb on board.

    “Yes, I committed to Tennessee,” Evan told Jamie Newberg of Rivals.com. “It’s the only college I know right now and it seems the best for me. My dad went there and my brother is there now. I know I can do the same things there. I have a real friendly relationship with the coaches there. I know I don’t know them too well but I know I will have plenty of time to get to know them. I want to play in the secondary, and I want to play for coach (Monte) Kiffin.”

    And it is legal to offer. In the article it even talks about current Colts Coach Jim Caldwell offering 8th grader Chris Leak a scholarship when Caldwell was at Wake Forrest.

    There are ways it can be done that are perfectly legal. You just don’t hear of this very often.

  9. I know its early with this class, but it looks to be shaping up really nicely. If this group pans out, does that make it 3 good classes in a row for Lynch?

  10. Mike P.,

    http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2009/jun/29/berrys-brother-13-picks-vols/

    Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. The NCAA prohibits schools from formally offering scholarships until a prospect has registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. UT has not offered Berry a scholarship.

    Even though it’s too early for Tennessee to actually offer, UT has received its first commitment for the Class of 2013.

    That’s right, 2013.

    Evan Berry, brother of UT All-American safety Eric Berry, has committed to the Vols even before beginning his freshman season in high school.

    “It’s the only college I know right now and it seems the best for me,” Evan Berry, 13, told Rivals.com, which first reported the story. “My dad went there and my brother is there now. I know I can do the same things there. I have a real friendly relationship with the coaches there. I don’t know them too well, but I know I will have plenty of time to get to know them.”

    Evan, along with his twin brother Elliot, have been frequent visitors to Tennessee practices.

    Evan and Elliot are set to begin their career at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., this fall. Evan projects as a safety and quarterback, just like his older brother did in high school.

    Evan also wants to follow his older brother’s footsteps into the defensive backfield.

    “I want to play in the secondary, and I want to play for Coach (Monte) Kiffin,” Evan Berry told Rivals.com.

    Eric Berry enters his junior season after earning consensus All-American honors last season, and he is one of the top-rated prospects for next year’s NFL draft.

    Evan might be ahead of his brother’s pace, says his father.

    James Berry, the boys’ father and former UT standout, told Rivals.com that Evan – and Elliot – are both further along in their development than their older brother was at age 13.

    The NCAA prohibits schools from formally offering scholarships until a prospect has registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. but judging by the accomplishments of his older brother at UT one would expect the Vols coaching staff certainly appreciates the thought of Evan Berry committing.

    Evan’s father acknowledged that four years is a long time to remain committed.

    “Hey, we just have to take it one day at a time,” James Berry said, according to Rivals.com. “Things happen, and four years is a long ways away.”

    Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

  11. GFDave, I know what you are getting at but I think the last 2 classes were at the bottom of the Big 10. If this one shapes up I would say it could be middle of the pack or at least not at the bottom. This does look like it could be a decent class if a few more are signed and I pray these guys keep their word. Not being negative, just being truthful.

  12. I wonder if these verbals will be more or less committed to come to IU after this season?

    If IU has a successful season, whatever that means, or more successful than most folks are thinking they will have, will they be even more committed to come next year? Or, if this upcoming season is another blowout like last year’s, will they be less committed? And if there is a coaching change at the end of the season, how will that impact their commitment? Signing day seems a long way off.

  13. Solid pickup.

    Had offers from Purdue and Louisville.

    If all our recruits had Big Ten and BCS offers, I’d be ecstatic. But it’s always only 2-4 per year.

    This is also June, scratch that, July. Signing day isn’t until February and we’ve seen kids jump ship on this staff every year.

  14. He’s a smart cookie, basing his decision on factors other than coaches such as the business school and the beautiful campus. Chances are, he won’t have the same coaches that recruited him in a few years, so I applaud him.
    I wish more players, especially in basketball, would do the same. Bloomington is an amazing place to go to college, coaches aside.

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