Brian Knorr has been in office as Indiana’s defensive coordinator for all of two days and he’s already helped Indiana land a recruit.
The Hoosiers had been after Tony Fields, a 5-foot-11, 209-pound safety from Godby High School in Tallahassee, Fla., for some time, and coach Ronnie Cottrell was impressed by how dedicated the coaching staff — head coach Kevin Wilson especially — had been in keeping constant contact with Fields and making every permissible visit, phone call and other communication. However, former defensive coordinator Doug Mallory had been one of the point men on Fields’ recruitment, doing what Cottrell called “a tremendous job,” in pursuing Fields, and it set the process back some when he was fired.
Knorr visited Fields Tuesday, however, and convinced him that he would not only fit his defense, but fit it better than he would the 4-3 defense that Mallory ran.
“Coach Knorr runs a 3-4 defense and that’s what we run here at Godby,” said Fields who transferred to Godby from North Florida Christian before this season. “One of the benefits of coming to Godby is that we run a very complicated defense. We disguise blitzes from all areas and do a lot of things that colleges are doing. That type of defense allows me to be a playmaker, use my instincts and make plays for this team.”
Said Cottrell: “Most college coaches now utilize their safeties in the run game and bring them closer to the line. In the 3-4 package, the safeties are forced to be alley players, and that’s what Tony really does well. He’s an outstanding coverage back and he’s going to be a perfect coverage back for what Coach Knorr and the Indiana coaches do.”
Fields recorded 71 tackles — 42 solo — and four interceptions last season at Godby, helping the squad to a 10-2 record. Cottrell said he has the perfect athletic blend for a safety.
“He’s a very physical player, but he’s able to cover,” Cottrell said. “Tony weighs about 209 pounds and he’s gonna run 4.5 minimum (in the 40-yard dash) every time. He has a tremendous knack as far as for reading the play. That mostly comes from his preparation. He spends a lot of time really studying film and being prepared. He’s a consummate safety, helping to get guys lined up. He’s a very productive player he understands all aspects of what we’re trying to do and he understands the opponent.”
Fields had narrowed his choices to Indiana and Missouri and said Auburn, Texas Christian and South Florida had also been among his top schools. Rivals.com listed offers for him from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi, Mississippi State and North Carolina State among others. However, Indiana went after him hard and he said he felt a bond with both the coaches and the players.
“I knew in my heart it was where I wanted to go,” Fields said. “Me and the players had a great chemistry. I like the character of the players and the coaches. I think Indiana has something special going on. They have one of the best offenses in all of college football. The only thing holding them back is the defense and as a freshman I’m trying to help them out there and change the program around. They were the most consistent school in my recruitment and that showed from the beginning. You have to be able to trust schools and the trust becomes consistency and that eventually turns into love. It’s a great fit.”
Fields becomes the 22nd recruit in Indiana’s Class of 2014. National Signing Day is Feb. 5.