Carmel TE Kurt Rafdal decommits from IU

One of the highest ranked recruits in Indiana’s 2017 class is no longer committed to the Hoosiers.

Three-star Carmel tight end Kurt Rafdal told 247 Sports on Wednesday night that he has decommitted from IU, citing the program’s recent coaching changes. Former tight ends coach James Patton, who parted ways with Indiana earlier this week, led the recruiting push for Rafdal.

The 6-foot-7 prospect is considered the No. 8 player in the state. Nebraska, Iowa and “potentially” LSU are the schools Rafdal will focus on, according to 247 Sports.

“I just want everyone to know I really enjoyed the process with them,” Rafdal told 247 Sports. “They treated me with the utmost respect and I felt part of the family and I was very excited to spend four years there, but at this time with all the changes there I think the best course of action is to open my recruiting.”

Indiana now has 17 players committed for 2017, including five set to arrive on campus by the end of this week. The handful of early arrivals includes Wisconsin defensive tackle Juan Harris, Florida offensive tackle Tyler Knight, New Jersey linebacker Mike McGinnis, Australian punter Haydon Whitehead and Thomas Allen, a linebacker who is the son of IU coach Tom Allen.

National signing day is Feb. 1.


  1. Just had to be someone questioning the changes in staff. To bad it has to be this kid. 1st off he is big and talented, a Hoosier + on the offensive side of the ball. I know Allen will keep selling him on the revised IU product he is shaping. Just a thought, if it were me I’d load up new OC DeBord, M. Hagen and G. Heard and the 4 of them make a strong close on what the present staff has to offer a talented in state TE. He needs reassurance and proof they are providing an atmosphere not unlike he was seeing with Wilson and Patton.

  2. I agree. A little marketing work to be done.

    Just based on recent history, chances are good that the TE position will be utilized more in the passing game…not less.

  3. It truly amazed me as a fan that IU football had three TE recruits and never (according to fans) uses them in the passing game…this really goes to show how well Kevin Wilson was at recruiting, young man who where buying into the TE (extra tackle) position….I think a lot of young man will start questioning the offensive staff (not that it is a bad staff, but a new staff). A staff that nobody knows what it is capable of….this is what happen when you get a new coaching staff anywhere. in this young man case, why would i go to IU (new staff), when i have the opportunity to go to Nebraska or Iowa (several pro TE) and play for more stable (establish) football program.

    1. Devised and U TN totally beat NE. Largely due to NE having no passing offense. IU has a good but not great passing offense, but the QB will be much better next year! I would pick IU!

  4. I read that he is still considering IU but wanting to visit other schools. I hope the IU 2017 army works with him to stay at IU after visiting other schools. I know the IU coaches will work hard to show him the benefits of playing in the new IU offense, one that should be more TE friendly in the passing game.

    The coaches are working hard to close out some needed recruits IE Potts and others to fill this class at the highest level possible. A very good campaign in the 2017 season will go a long way bringing in better rated recruits in 2018.

  5. IU79, that is certainly one point of view. Another would be, “Why would I go to a school that rarely uses the TE in the passing game? What was I thinking?” That would be IU last season.

    Given the choice between a new OC with a great resume and a new passing game coordinator versus last season’s offense that sometimes couldn’t get out of its own way, particularly on 3rd down and in the red zone, I’d go with the proven new OC and his new passing game coordinator.

    If I were a TE who had committed to IU it would feel like Christmas all over.

  6. I agree completely, Chet. Unless this kid was hoping to be converted into an Offensive tackle like Spriggs, this is somewhat bizarre logic. Rafdal has a great chance to get ample playing time and actually catch passes as a freshman in DeBord’s new offense. In Wilson’s 2016 offense, he would have simply been another blocker. Maybe he just had a great relationship with Patton. And of course, change scares people.

    But as I’ve said before, when it comes to IU Football, “familiarity breeds contempt.” It’s often harder to sign in-state kids than it is to sign kids from distant states. Too many people in Indiana have a long-held disdain for IU Football.

    1. I hope Allen and Debord can change Rafdal’s mind and that he re-commits to IU. Debord used his tight ends as receivers a great deal at UT the last two years. One of his tight ends, Ethan Wolfe, who I believe is a junior, was targeted numerous times each game. Wolfe started as a freshman and could easily end up playing on Sundays. Debord, when he visits Rafdal, needs to have highlight reel tape on his laptop showing how UT’s tight ends caught a lot of passes and were integral parts of the passing game. This would be in great contrast to Wilson and Johns over the last 3 or so years. The only tight end Wilson ever utilized as a pass catching threat was Ted Bolser.

      I see where Hendershot, who is still committed, is going on official visits to Penn State and Purdue. Allen and Debord need to keep at least one of these 2 tight ends from Indiana, and hopefully both of them.

      1. Football recruiting is NEVER over until the NLOI is signed and delivered! But that can help IU pick up some 4 stars who don’t want to be the 3rd TE recruit at MI or OSU!

  7. To me it shows lack of respect for IU tradition. Yes, I know top elite programs have recruits changing their minds also. The difference is they have just as good of players who might leave in line ready to take their place. With IU a really good player will play and if he is good enough his abilities will be utilized. Lack of respect for IU fb tradition. So assistant coaching staff is being upgraded and IU recruits are considering other options where at IU their talents will be utilized. In tight end case Lagow, if he is the starter would serve a tight end well even as a fresh. Then next qb in line; unknown. Kid from Georgia can throw and should be able to utilize tight end. Example: Tommy Stevens QB decided to go set on bench at Penn State after decommitting from IU. (Again no respect for IU tradition) and that hurt because he was a capable runner and a high 3 star qb (not the best but could have helped IU this year). That hurt and I think K.W. realized it. IU put alot of work in recruing him only to have him decommit. That is how R.L. came to IU and kid from Georgia got to IU (alternate choices)

  8. Well, given all the other coaching changes taking place around the country, I hope IU’s staff is as aggressive in trying to poach previously “committed” recruits as our competitors are.

  9. IU is working on players and some have committed to a school already. I would like to believe when coaches meet the recruits and explain the offense that will be run IU will pick up a few more offensive recruits. Late signings come from players that find out the schools they wanted already have signed their limit.

    I hope IU does due diligence and doesn’t just sign players to fill out the roster. Ball is the latest example on how to hit a home run with a 3 star player. This recruiting class will be a class in flux and we really can’t see the recruiting chops until the 2018 class. A poster brought up Fleck as an example of how a change can bring in recruits but the difference is Fleck is bringing in the recruits from WM he recruited. There are another few weeks to see hat recruits end up at IU.

  10. T=what IU football tradition (being the butt-end of football jokes for 50 years)?? Maybe that is why I always supported Kevin Wilson….I will never forget him on some morning radio show defending and standing up for IU football program. maybe he was wrong but at least Kevin Wilson believe in the program and stood behind (defend) the IU football program.
    agree with you Podunker, with all the other coaching changes i am so in hoping that this staff secures a few more recruits. This 2017 IU football recruiting class needs some help.

  11. King is from Georgia. I was 100 percent in favor of KW standing up for IU fb program when he first arrived. I felt the one’s he was standing up to were jerks. That does not include JMV.

  12. It’s bad enough that Rafdal is going to Neb but P State needs a TE. Hendershot has been invited. Not cool.

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