Indiana puts out release on six mid-semester enrollees, including Dominique Booth, who is not committed

There was apparently a recent rule change that allows college football coaches to publicly discuss recruits who graduate early to enroll in the spring after they sign financial aid agreements. Even though they can enroll in school in January, they can not sign formal National Letters of Intent until February.

Indiana took advantage of that loophole for the first time on Tuesday morning, and for a specific purpose. Dominique Booth, a four-star wide receiver from Pike, has not yet committed and is considering Indiana and Missouri. However, he has signed a financial aid agreement — which is non-binding on his part — to secure his spot for the spring semester. And that allows Wilson to publicly say nice things about Booth now even though he isn’t committed. His comments on Booth follow.

““Dominique is one of the premier wide receivers in the country,” Wilson said. “We have been on him for several years. From day one, we made a commitment to recruit the state of Indiana and it is nice to get another Indianapolis metro player who can help our program take that next step. Dominique is ready to shine on the national stage and to continue the lineage of great Indiana receivers. He is a tremendous student who is very mature physically and mentally. Dominique is a perfect fit for our offense, one which became the first in Big Ten history with five 1,000-yard receivers on the same team, and we can’t wait for him to arrive in Bloomington.” 

And again, it should be reiterated here. Wilson doesn’t know for certain that Booth is coming. He isn’t committed. But this rule allows him to talk like he is and build him up. It’s a recruiting ploy, and kind of a fascinating one.

The full release including all of the early enrollees follows.

SIX SIGN FINANCIAL AID AGREEMENTS TO JOIN IU FOOTBALL PROGRAM
 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Head football coach Kevin Wilson announced six student-athletes have signed financial aid agreements and been offered admission to Indiana University. The six include offensive linemen Delroy Baker (St. Petersburg, Fla./Admiral Farragut Academy), Tim Gardner (Indianapolis, Ind./Milford Academy), DeAndre Herron(Avon, Ind./Iowa Western C.C.), quarterback Alexander Diamont (Los Angeles, Calif./Venice H.S.), tight end Jordan Fuchs (Middle Village, N.Y./Milford Academy) and wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike). Herron has officially inked his National Letter of Intent.

 

“We are very excited these six young men have signed agreements with Indiana,” Wilson said. “We are glad they have signed and plan on having them enroll when spring semester classes begin on January 13. 

 

“Last year, we didn’t sign any offensive linemen. To get three mid-year enrollees on the O-line is very, very strong for us. It is important to land quality offensive linemen. We have shown we can develop and coach the line at a high level. Getting these three is a good start and we would like to add a couple more before Signing Day.”

 

Gardner (6-5, 320 pounds), who is ranked the number three prospect in the Rivals.com prep school ratings, led Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis to the Indiana Class 5A state title in 2012. He was a 2012 Associated Press first team all-state selection and named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association’s Top 50 all-state team. 

 

“Tim is an outstanding player we have recruited for several years,” Wilson said. “We are happy to add another talented Central Indiana football player. He has been a part of successful programs at Lawrence Central and Milford Academy. Tim has the size and talent to be an excellent interior lineman for IU.”

 

Herron (6-5, 330), an Avon (Ind.) High School graduate, spent two seasons at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. A 2012 Associated Press first team all-state selection, Herron was also named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association’s Top 50 all-state team.

 

“Our staff has recruited DeAndre since our first year,” Wilson said. “He impressed us at our summer camp and we have known about him for a long time. DeAndre played at great programs at Iowa Western and Avon, and he is another strong and physical player out of Central Indiana who will be great for the Hoosiers.”

 

Baker (6-6, 290) spent his first three seasons at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., before transferring to Admiral Farragut in St. Petersburg. He is rated the No. 33 offensive tackle nationally by ESPN.com. 

 

“Delroy is a very athletic tackle prospect,” Wilson said. “He was heavily recruited by several SEC and ACC programs. Delroy is a high character young man and a great student who comes from a strong family. His athleticism and personal makeup are what IU Football is looking for and we have every reason to believe he has a promising future.”

 

Diamont (6-1, 175) was named the Western League co-Player of the Year following the 2013 season. A three-year starter, he threw for 3,501 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior.

 

“With our offensive system and our staff’s background we should always land top quarterbacks and Zander fits that mold,” Wilson said. “It was critical to sign an elite quarterback in this class to complement our upperclassmen. Zander was very impressive at our camp and workouts. Coming from a very prolific offense at Venice, he is an excellent leader who will give us a strong run-pass threat. Zander is a potentially great thrower who can also make plays in space.”

 

Fuchs (6-6, 230) was a teammate of Gardner’s at Milford after attending Christ the King High School in Queens, N.Y. The talented tight end also starred on the basketball court, where he received over 15 Division I offers from some of the top programs in country. 

 

“Jordan is a very athletic guy,” Wilson said. “He was an upper level basketball player in New York City who fell in love with football. We got on him late and are excited to have him. With the departure of Ted Bolser, it was important to bring in a scholarship tight end. Jordan is a long, gifted player who has the frame to be a dominant blocker in the Big Ten. We believe he has the ability to be a complete tight end.”

 

Booth (6-1, 200) is rated as the No. 2 player in the state of Indiana and the No. 32 wide receiver nationally by ESPN.com. Over his final two seasons at Pike, he recorded 99 receptions for 1,266 yards with 16 touchdowns.

“Dominique is one of the premier wide receivers in the country,” Wilson said. “We have been on him for several years. From day one, we made a commitment to recruit the state of Indiana and it is nice to get another Indianapolis metro player who can help our program take that next step. Dominique is ready to shine on the national stage and to continue the lineage of great Indiana receivers. He is a tremendous student who is very mature physically and mentally. Dominique is a perfect fit for our offense, one which became the first in Big Ten history with five 1,000-yard receivers on the same team, and we can’t wait for him to arrive in Bloomington.” 

National Signing Day is on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and Wilson expects to sign the full allotment of 25 players overall.

“Every day we want constant and consistent improvement and these six players help us achieve that goal,” Wilson said. “It is critical that we meet our needs with young men who fit the values of our program, and we are off to a great start. Our staff has done an excellent job and will continue to do so as we wrap up what we expect to be another highly-ranked signing class. We must follow last year’s top-rated class with another one and we are well on our way to doing just that. We are building a solid and strong program and the future is bright for IU Football.”

17 comments

  1. DD, how is IU doing with defensive recruiting? I know we had to play a bunch of underclassmen last year, how many redshirt freshmen do we have returning on the defensive side? Does it hurt our recruiting if players are unsure of Mallory’s return?

  2. I haven’t seen any video of Zander but how can you not be impressed with a kid that leaves southern California early to come to Bloomington in the middle of winter?

  3. Bloomington certainly is not California weather in Winter. But it is a piece of cake compared to northern Indiana.

  4. Calli, they’ve got three defensive ends, a defensive tackle, two linebackers and a cornerback for the next class. Nobody is above a three-star although there is some decent talent there. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think there’s a lot of uncertainty about Mallory. If they were going to cut him off, they would’ve done it by now.

  5. Dustin, I suspect you are correct as to the status of Coach Mallory. They may be holding on to him on the theory that the devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t. I don’t know what D coordinators are available and inclined to join this program, so I guess it is what it is.

    I cannot help but think that Coach Wilson recognizes the deficiencies in defensive coaching and will focus on this in the off season. Clearly an upgrade in talent will help but what I and others saw this past season had more to do with lack of fundamental skills like tackling, zone discipline and shedding blocks which really is more of a coaching challenge. I’m hopeful that at least we’ll see some upgrades there.

  6. Cannot fathom Wilson/Glass reasoning. iufan23 is right on about the defense’s real problem being coaching issues-Mallory can recruit all the talent he wants, but that won’t matter a bit if the talent can’t understand the scheme. The IUD has been out of position and blowing coverage for three years straight. I guess they plan on giving him a brain transplant.

  7. It is too difficult for me to have any definitive opinions on whether Mallory should continue to be the Indiana Co-Defensive Coordinator from 3,000 miles away. When you have the 121 out of 123 (or whatever), there are problems that are way beyond just one individual. There doesn’t seem to be a vision or any type of identity and characteristics that are being established for players to attain. Offensively there is a crystal clear vision. Defensively it is a muddled mess.

    I think that the Co- labels that Kevin Wilson are so fond of, are a bit of an issue. However, admittedly, I have no idea how this plays out in practice. Seems to me that while there are Co-Coordinator Titles there seems to be a man in charge. After all, Mallory also has the Asst. Head Coach Title.

    Regardless. Someone needs to provide some clarity around our defensive identity. Napoleon once said, “Better one bad general then two good ones.” Way more often than not in the history of sports, no good has come from divided leadership. I feel that the best thing for Wilson would be to name one D-Coord head and stick with him. Let him establish the vision, organize the other defensive coaches around that vision, get players bought in, align them towards those goals and ultimately be held accountable for it. Seems like Mallory is the guy that Wilson is standing behind, so it’ll be up to him to do it.

  8. Keeping Mallory is probably going to put Wilson’s job in jeopardy after next season. Here’s how the negative cycle develops after next year.

    Bad defense cost IU several winnable games and continues to frustrate IU’s fan base. Attendance at home games diminish below 2013 averages. Losing seasons cost IU better recruits, making it even harder to win games. After four seasons as head coach, and in spite of prolific offenses, Wilson still can’t product a winning season because the defense is so terrible. Wilson is now openly questioned about his decision to keep Mallory. Rumors begin to circulate that Wilson’s seat is getting hot and opposing coaches plant seeds of doubt about Wilson’s longevity at IU, further damaging the staff’s ability to sign more talented players. Wilson wants to fire Mallory after four feckless years, but realizes that the rumors of his potential termination and the dismal recruiting are making it impossible to upgrade the position of Defensive Coordinator. Without much choice, Wilson keeps Mallory for the fifth year. IU endures it’s fifth straight losing season under Wilson because the defense is terrible once again. Under great heat from the fans and declining attendance at home games, Glass fires Wilson after five consecutive losing seasons. IU pays Wilson his 7-digit contract buyout, and once again begins to search for a coach that can turn IU’s football fortunes around.

    Dear Coach Wilson, your window of opportunity is beginning to close. You must produce a winning season in one of the next two years or you’ll end up as just another name on a long list of failed IU football coaches.

  9. DD, Look around football, co-coordinators are not black sheep, they are prevalent and now after many years in existence are routinely happenstance. Just as co-department heads are in business.

    Po, You’ve written another fine novel of doom.

  10. Just to clarify a little on this. Wilson has said on a few occasions that sometimes you give out co-coordinator roles for the purpose of stratifying the coaching staff, paying some guys a little extra and giving them something to put on a resume whether it’s really an even partnership between coordinators or not. Practice was cut off to us after preseason camp and we obviously aren’t with them during games, but based on what I’ve been able to gather, Mallory had more exclusive power over the defense this year than any coach since I’ve been here. Really, it’s been his gig all along. He’s been in the press box while William Inge and before him Mike Ekeler were on the field. Those guys have input, but at the end of the day, he’s really calling the plays, and I got the impression that was more true this year because Inge was in his first year. Small for instance here, but the last two seasons, Mallory and Ekeler alternated appearances at the weekly press conferences. This year, Inge may have done one and Mallory took the rest. So far as anyone can tell, it’s his defense. The co- issue was more of a problem with Brian George and Joe Palcic under Bill Lynch, but even then I got the distinct impression that Brian George was running the show.

  11. HC- the only thing that will keep Podunker’s “novel” from being published in the non-fiction category will be if Mallory converts the IUD from a laughingstock into something at least moderately respectable on any given Saturday. Given that the IUD has gotten worse under Mallory each year he’s been in charge (whatever title he’s got), there doesn’t seem to be any RATIONAL basis to expect such an improvement. Loyal IUFB fans have lived on hope alone for decades, and that’s how we’re going into the 2014 campaign- on hope alone that Mallory can somehow defy all LOGICAL, RATIONAL, and OBJECTIVE expectations and turn the IUD around.

    PO- One detail. Before you submit your manuscript to your editor, you might want to reconsider your words that after the 2014 season “Wilson is now openly questioned about his decision to keep Mallory.” That’s happening now!

  12. HC- nonsense! Haven’t you heard of the National Enquirer? Seriously, though, you can call it BS, but I’m still waiting for someone to provide a rational basis for the retention of Mallory. Whether you live in Bloomington or 3,000 miles away, the numbers speak for themselves. “Better talent,” by the way, is not a rational argument- the talent has improved slightly in the last couple of years but the IUD has gotten worse (a nearly impossible feat).

  13. The rational issue is talent + the maturity of talent and it all starts up front. As talented as the youngsters Green and Latham are with the supporting DT’s they could not perform at the level we received from Black, Sliger and Replogle the 2 seasons before. Green red shirted last season because of B, S and R. So would have Latham if he had been a Frosh then. Next season and in 15 as the DE’s start enjoying more double teams on the DT’s and the LB’s start engaging the double teams on the DT’s more the overall D gets stronger. But 1st you have to have DL performance that is respected in the opponents game planning. By the way you do not decide for me what is rational and what is not.

  14. No question that talent can atone for many coaching deficiencies. However, it is likewise true that effective coaching can atone for talent deficiencies. If you take an athlete whose skills have been developed in high school to the point where that athlete is a four/five star competitor and is on the roster of major program, coaching probably isn’t as critical as in is at Indiana. That athlete probably has well developed skills and the coaching is refining those skills.

    Not so with most of our athletes. By comparison, our kids are not as developed and therefore effective coaching becomes that much more critical. So, while HC’s comments regarding the talent upgrades at IU are well taken and welcomed, fact is we need not good coaching but outstanding coaching to become competitive.

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