IU plants its recruiting flag in Indianapolis area #iufb

CARMEL — Tom Allen spent most of Wednesday watching high school football players run through drills. He spent another portion of it reconnecting with his roots.

As a former head coach at Ben Davis, Allen’s name still carries weight around the Indianapolis area. So when IU brought its entire coaching staff north to oversee a series of four satellite camps around the central part of the state, Allen was a man in demand.

“We got to Lawrence North and I went to high school with the principal,” Allen said. “His dad was our principal. I went to high school with their AD there. One of the local coaches, (Doug) Peacock, he just retired recently from Mt. Vernon. He coached with my dad 20 years ago. So it’s that type (of interaction) over and over again. It gives me a great chance to see guys — I saw two guys here today that I haven’t seen in 10 years that I used to coach against. One of the guys I used to go to church with. Every time I go somewhere, that always happens — just from having so many connections in this state. It makes it fun. I enjoy it.”

Indiana’s program, too, seemed to enjoy the exposure it generated Wednesday, planting its recruiting flag firmly in the center of the state.

Kevin Wilson’s coaching staff oversaw four free camps for high school players entering grades nine through 12 on Wednesday, beginning with a “Big Man” camp for linemen at Lawrence North and ending the day with a skill camp at Brownsburg. In between, Wilson’s staff also visited Carmel and Westfield.

From an IU point of view, the aim was to build rapport, attract talented young players to the program and get its coaches in full view of some of the name-brand high school programs surrounding the state capital.

“Coach Wilson came to me awhile ago and asked about this and what I thought,” Allen said. “I immediately said it’s a great idea. 10 years ago, I was one of those guys that was coaching a team here in this part of the state and we never had anything like this. We’d have to go to campus to get access to their staff. To be able to get coached by a Big Ten staff in your backyard is pretty awesome.”

Dubbed the Indy Metro INvasion, the camps were free for all participants and lasted two hours apiece.

After the Carmel camp, Allen and his IU colleagues seemed pleased with the turnout midway through the day.

So, too, were the high school coaches on the other end.

“They’re fired up that we’re here,” Allen said. “For us to show that we’re willing to bring our entire staff to their school and allow kids to come here for free is a pretty strong commitment to be able to support Indiana high school football. Obviously, we’re here to recruit and develop players. That’s what camps are really all about. I think that those two things have been able to be a strong part of today.”


  1. It is about time IU did this and it should pay good returns for IU and the high school players. There are too many players and families that can’t afford going to a camp. When I was coaching in Indy at Brebeuf Jesuit I started a free clinic and the second year an assistant help get the Colts on board. We had a great turnout and I know there are many players and families looking for opportunities like this. Now IU gets to see players and players plus coaches get to see IU whereas before Michigan, MSU, ND, OSU could come in and be the only coach the players saw at their school because they wouldn’t consider a “losing” school like IUFB be one of their choices. Now they get longer contact with IU coaches and get to know how they will be coached and what the coaches are like.

    I am very glad to see IU taking this step as it is a way to make the next step. No Indiana doesn’t have a bunch of D1 players but each year we have several of the top players IE Jaylon Smith that went to ND and several others. Now IU has a better chance of getting a few of the best players in the state to go along with the players they get from across the Eastern and Southern USA.

  2. Let’s be honest…..How many top guys will we get from Ohio and Michigan…?

    If you can’t lock up a couple 3-star guys from your backyard, I don’t know what the hell “Win Today” was supposed to convey over six years ago.

    I am far more concerned with the plethora of top Indiana basketball players that will never consider a clownfest.

  3. H4H, IU can pull off a few higher rated players from Ohio and Michigan because they can play earlier at IU. They won’t pull off too many 4 stars from those states but could get a few like Johan Morris. IU recruits across the East coast and Southern areas along with Texas. Because teams can only have 85 scholarships that leaves players for other schools to recruit. You never know why a player goes to a school and many players that come to IU talk about the family atmosphere. You are right that they won’t pull of many 5 star player in those states but coaching up 3 and 4 star players evens out the field over a couple of years.

  4. the 4 star recruit we just got turned down (so far) offers from Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. My guess is he knows that Allen and Hagen have put guys like him into the NFL and he should be able to play quickly. We haven’t been able to get the top talent from Indiana but hopefully that is changing. There’s enough talent in the Indianapolis area each year for at least 1/2 their recruiting class.

  5. v13-

    Your optimism is solid gold. I was also surprised to see that we have somewhere around 20 players on our football roster from Ohio. Our premier running back is from Ohio. I need to do more research before I open my fat trap. Go Hoosier Football!!

  6. H4H, all of us make mistakes when talking about IUFB. It is just good to be interested enough to talk about football for the upcoming season. I could be wrong about Lagow but it will be great if my film watching and evaluation is right that he is as good or better than Nate. I love hearing defensive players talk about the change in culture especially when Oliver comes out and says that didn’t happen with previous changes. I do believe their play in the 3rd quarter was more indicative of the talent than the way the defense played the whole game. If that is true and our front is as stout as last year then this year’s defensive play could be a shock for people. Realistically that may not happen but on the other hand there is no reason why it can’t happen at IU the way Coach Allen did it at other schools.

    Gest, Scales [was committed to ND originally], Jayme Thompson, Johan Morris, A’Shon Riggins, Devine Redding, Dameon Willis, Marcus Oliver, Ja’Merez Bowen, Patrick Dougherty, Ryan Smith, Hunter Littlejohn, Simon Stephaniak, Nate Hoff, Wes Martin, Austin Dorris were all well regarding coming out of Ohio high schools. I didn’t realize how many Ohio players were on the team and how well regarded many of them were. OSU got the best players from Ohio but IU got some very good players from Ohio.

    My optimism will reach its limit this year, unless the team comes out and pulls off several big upsets along with winning all their games they are suppose to win. I think this year will determine if Coach Wilson is the right man for the job [I think he is]. 2017 will be a year that determines if IUFB can sustain its momentum [that is if this year is a step up from 2015]. We will be replacing four of five on the OL. I think recruiting will get them past this as we have solid backups to take over and our skilled players are getting better each year. The defensive front will bring in exciting players while the LBs need to replace one or two players and DBs will be set. This year should be building on last year’s improvement but 2017 will be a team that has to reset and still improve.

    H4H you provide me with a shot of realism to go with my enthusiasm. I look forward to your poetic prose when IU pulls off the big wins this year and to see how you honor the team as they win 9 games this year [I can dream at least].

  7. Every year we sport a new sparkling roster
    Another summer roles through town
    Another year to erase an old stubborn frown
    New formulations and new threads for an old imposter
    IU Football morphs again
    Into the same forever changing disaster?

    Dizzying chrome helmets hijacking the candy stripe lore
    Pigskin follies sprayed by declaration onto a proven stolen score
    Another summer roles through town
    Another year to erase an old stubborn frown
    Boisterous August winds with polished swords to battle
    The opening drums grow intense as a new baby’s rattle.

    The tale of Memorial is a lesson in Graveyards 101
    Seasons upon seasons from the ghosts we’ll run
    Into the seats to watch the same ‘Un-cola’ man
    Rise from the earth to laugh and find little pleasure in the light
    There is no destiny in a darkness of truth
    The flames of a passion tease us again this football day.

    Open the gates to a fresh batch of smiles
    Drink from the desert of decades this same old new thirst
    Candy stripes on helmets be our branded oasis
    For where there are banners, there is also a place for us
    Where the sun born of cheers will glisten on five rivers
    And Hoosier football victories will drink from five Nile’s.

    Another summer roles through town
    Another year to erase an old stubborn frown….
    Graveyards 101.

  8. Smart and aggressive. Which is the exact characteristics of the coach. This action gives IUFB a lead off against the big name outfits and against the rest of the B1G.. Really gives a leg up against the likes of Cincy, pUKe, L’ville, Pitt, VT, WV, Vols and on and on + keeps PUke on the bottom rung for a long time. Most likely the best long term program put in place by the coach and staff to date. Somewhere around 550 HS’s attended the 5 locations. Success indeed.

  9. H4H, mistake – it was Sykes that was the ND commit not Scales, sorry about that. Can you do a poem about the winning team in 2016 so if it happens we can pull it up and reminisce about looking forward to a successful year instead of the usual let down season?

    HC these camps do give IU a leg up by gaining exposure for our coaches in schools in Indiana. Right now the top players don’t necessarily think of IU first but now with the personal exposure it may have players thinking of IU along with other schools interested in him. I really like the connection it makes with local high school coaches and IU.

  10. It’s the P.I.E. theory at work. Performance/Image and Exposure. The performance is improving, the image is good, and now Wilson is increasing his exposure. He’s a smart man.

  11. Good time to take more aggressive approach and elevate interest in Indy area which will be positive for all of Indiana.

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