This is Kevin Wilson’s week to see the troops.
Not the ones in Bloomington, but the ones that are on the way.
The Indiana coach gave his players a few days off to start the Hoosiers’ lone bye week of the fall, while he and his staff left town to visit recruits around the country. That means visits with players who have already given verbal commitments to IU and some who have not.
Wilson said the downtime allows his staff to spread out to some of the regions where they don’t always have time to visit during the season.
“When it is a home game you can get to Indianapolis or Cincinnati or Chicago for games,” Wilson said. “So maybe a little bit more Southern recruiting this week.”
Indiana has 14 verbal commitments lined up for 2017, including at least six who project to play along the defensive line. The Hoosiers have three offensive linemen committed to the class, along with two defensive backs, two potential linebackers and a tight end.
As the early numbers indicate, recruiting along the line of scrimmage is Indiana’s focus for 2017.
“D-line has been a priority, getting dynamic guys off the edge and big D-linemen,” Wilson said. “We’re still looking to see if we can do anything at quarterback. If not we’ll sit tight. We’re looking at a couple of receivers. I think the tight (end) position is critical in what we do. Greg Frey is going to need a couple O-linemen.”
In recent months, Wilson has projected a smaller class — perhaps one that does not exceed 20 signees by the time recruiting wraps in February.
So in addition to the players already in the fold, it could be time for Indiana coaches to become more selective in their approach.
“I think our class will be balanced with numbers,” Wilson said. “We’ll see what the numbers get to. Not maybe as many back-end defensive back-type players. We don’t have a senior in the defensive backfield. It is a bunch of sophomores and juniors and a couple freshmen that are playing back there. It will probably be a defensive-front oriented class and some O-line guys. We don’t have a senior at running back. We don’t have a senior quarterback. So it will probably be D-line and O-line with some tight end- and receiver-type guys and a couple linebackers.”
According to 247 Sports, Wilson has been in Florida this week and checked in on three-star athlete Whop Philyor on Wednesday. Philyor attends Plant High School, playing on the same team as linebacker commit Thomas Allen — the son of Indiana defensive coordinator Tom Allen.
Coaches are not permitted to have direct, in-person contact with recruits at the moment, but they are allowed to watch high school teams practice.
With a week off from practice and preparation, Wilson and his staff are trying to make the most of the downtime down South.
“We’re in the day and age where so many guys commit early but you’ve still got to keep recruiting because who knows what those commitments mean anymore,” Wilson said. “So you’re seeing guys that have committed and seeing them play and seeing them practice. You are not really allowed to talk with the guys but you can do so much with text messaging and direct messaging and phone calls with the kid so you’re able to have contact. But just seeing some guys.
“We thought it would be better to go early this week and give our guys a few days off. We’re scouring these first couple, three days probably in some of these Southern regions where we can’t come to as much.”