Indiana’s signing day tracker

Follow along as the members of Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class file their National Letters of Intent. Page will be updated throughout the morning. Quotes pulled from IU’s in-house signing day videos.

NOTE: As of 10 a.m., Indiana signed all 22 verbal commits and added Ohio running back Morgan Ellison. IU could also add Florida defensive end Bobby Roundtree before the day is done.

UPDATE: Down to IU and Illinois, Florida defensive end Bobby Roundtree settled on the Illini. That’ll do it for signing day, with the Hoosiers officially welcoming 23 players in their 2017 class.

SIGNED

— Thomas Allen, ILB, 6-3, 220, Plant, Tampa, Fla. Allen played on three state runner-ups, including two at Oxford while his father, IU coach Tom Allen, was on staff at Ole Miss. Allen is the 2016 Tampa Bay Defensive Player of the Year, and he finished his career with 470 tackles, 119 for loss, 13 sacks, eight forced fumbles four fumble recoveries and one interception. “You’re going to see him as a big hitter, a guy who shows flashes of excellence,” linebackers coach William Inge said.

— Juan Harris, DT, 6-4, 368, Parker, Janesville, Wisc. Harris had a wild recruitment, committing and decommitting with Iowa three times, and once with Indiana before enrolling in Bloomington in early January. Harris, who played on two state championship teams and made 80 tackles and seven sacks during his final two years, will be available to IU for spring practice. Rivals ranks Harris as the No. 37 defensive tackle in the nation. “He’s a very, very large individual,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “Very light on his feet for such a big person. He creates a lot of havoc inside as a D-tackle.”

— Tyler Knight, OT, 6-5, 275, Northside Christian, St. Petersburg, Fla. The first player to commit to the class, Knight also played both center and guard in high school. ESPN ranks him as a top 100 offensive tackle among 2017 recruits. “Tyler Knight is here (on campus) and he’s another great student,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “… He’s also a basketball player and has displayed great athleticism.”

— Mike McGinnis, ILB, 6-2, 235, ASA College, Allentown, N.J. McGinnis earned All-American honors at his junior college in 2016, making 91 tackles, 18 for loss, 2.5 sacks and forcing three fumbles. “He’s a big hitter, a big Mike type of player,” Inge said. “He’s going to be great. … The thing we like having him here is he’s eager to learn.”

— Haydon Whitehead, P, 6-2, 195, Melbourne, Australia. Whitehead is giving American football a go after playing Australian Rules Football for the past 15 years. The 21-year-old’s first trip to the United States was for his official visit in Bloomington in December 2016. Whitehead worked at Prokick Australia, which has produced the past four Ray Guy (nation’s top punter) Award winners.

— Peyton Hendershot, TE, 6-4, 227, Tri-West, Lizton. Hendershot took a late visit to Penn State, but ended up a Hoosier. An Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 selection and all-state player as a senior, Hendershot finished his career with 157 receptions, 2,170 yards and 22 touchdowns. He caught 67 passes for 896 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. Hendershot could also get a look at defensive end. “I’m just really excited about him as an athlete and as a person,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “He exemplifies what we’re looking at for the position with great athleticism, great toughness and he’s a guy that will bring a lot to our program that way. He’s a great basketball player. I watched him play a game where he went over a couple guys for a dunk.”

— Mo Burnam, ILB, 6-2, 219, Salem, Conyers, Ga. A one-time Tennessee commit, Burnam is ranked the No. 23 inside linebacker nationally by ESPN. He made 111 tackles, four sacks and an interception as a senior. “He’s very athletic,” Inge said. “He can play in space, he can play on the edge.”

— Harry Crider, C, 6-4, 260, Columbus East, Columbus. An Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 selection and all-state player as a senior, Crider was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at 10 years old. He earned this year’s Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award and helped raise awareness for diabetes through a senior project fundraiser for Riley Children’s Foundation. On the field, Scout.com considers Crider the No. 2 center in the midwest, the No. 11 center nationally and the No. 17 overall prospect in the Hoosier state. “I think Harry is a great example of this class — he’s got great character,” IU offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said.

— Michael Ziemba, TE, 6-3, 245, Lake Mary, Lake Mary, Fla. A high school teammate of IU receiver Nick Westbrook, Ziemba played in only one game as a senior due to an injury. He comes to Indiana ranked No. 21 in the Orlanda Sentinel’s Florida Super60 list. Ziemba also played linebacker in high school. “Michael’s truly an athlete,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “We’ve fought back and forth (as a staff), ‘Where do we start Michael?’ He played tight end and H-back at Lake Mary High School. He played middle linebacker. He’s a big body guy, who’s an athlete.”

— Tramar Reece, DE, 6-3, 210, Clearwater, Clearwater, Fla. Reece made 47 tackles, 13 for loss, along with 10 sacks as a senior. ESPN considers him the No. 76 defensive end in the 2017 class. Reece was a team captain, who earned second team all-state recognition in 2016. “He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “Great kid. He’s gone through some adversity in his life, but he’s gonna be a real shot in the arm for us as a boundary-side end. He gives us a lot of speed, lots of athleticism. Watch his highlight video. Lots of big plays.”

— Juwan Burgess, ATH, 6-0, 188, Plant, Tampa, Fla. Burgess had been committed to Southern California, but flipped his pledge to become a Hoosier. He’s expected to begin his college career at safety. As a high school senior, Burgess made 63 tackles, 41 solo stops, two for loss, three interceptions, six breakups and one fumble recovery. Offensively, he caught 14 passes for 229 yards and four scores, and also returned 24 punts for 390 yards and three touchdowns.

— De’Angelo “Whop” Philyor, WR, 6-0, 175, Plant, Tampa, Fla. Philyor did a little of everything for a loaded Plant High School team. He played receiver — his expected position at IU — running back and defensive back for Florida’s 7A state runner-up squad. Philyor earned first team all-state honors in 2016, catching 91 passes for 1,329 yards and 20 touchdowns. “Whop is a shorter guy, but he has great quickness,” receivers coach Grant Heard said. “He’s definitely a game-changer. We’re going to try to get the ball in his hands as many ways as possible and let him be Whop.”

— Bryant Fitzgerald, ATH, 6-0, 200, Avon, Avon. An Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 selection and all-state player as a senior, Fitzgerald is expected to begin his college career at safety. He was team MVP at Avon this past fall, making 107 tackles, 11 for loss, one sack and tree interceptions, two of which he returned for scores. Fitzgerald was named his team’s hardest hitter. “He was (one of) the first committed to our class and was committed for a long time,” safeties coach Noah Joseph said.

— Nick Tronti, QB, 6-2, 210, Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra, Fla. Tronti earned Mr. Football honors for the state of Florida, carrying Ponte Vedra to the Class 5A state championship game. This dual-threat quarterback passed for 3,328 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior, while rushing for 650 yards and 20 scores. “The thing that really showed for us is what he did in big moments in big games,” IU quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said. “He’s a player that makes plays. Whenever you get a quarterback that has that type of skill set, along with that character and that will, you have a pretty special young man.”

— Raheem Layne, CB, 6-0, 183, Sebastian River, Sebastian, Fla. One of the most recent additions to the class, Layne made 57 tackles with two picks as a senior. He did not allow a single touchdown in coverage in 2016. ESPN ranks him as the No. 58 cornerback in the class. “He’s a physical corner, who does a great job in coverage and also does a great job defending the run,” cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said.

— Britt Beery, DE, 6-6, 267, Carmel, Carmel. Beery was a team captain at Carmel, which won the 2016 Class 6A state title. He made 112 tackles, two sacks, one fumble recover, six hurries and five breakups across his junior and senior seasons. Beery also blocked three field goals in that span. 247 Sports considers Beery the No. 55 strong-side defensive end in the country, while Rivals ranks him as the No. 9 overall prospect in the state. “I know Britt was a big part of their state championship run,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “… You’re talking about a long athlete. He’s up to 270 pounds now. Who knows how big he’ll be when he gets here.”

— LeShaun Minor, DT, 6-3, 293, Ben Davis, Indianapolis. An Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 selection and all-state player as a senior, Minor made 80 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss this past fall. Scout.com calls Minor the No. 5 defensive tackle in the midwest, the No. 6 prospect in the state and the No. 29 defensive tackle nationally. “LeShaun plays in probably the best conference in the state of Indiana at a storied program at Ben Davis,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “He’s a 280-290 pound guy that creates havoc inside.”

— LaDamion Hunt, CB, 6-0, 183, Carrollton, Carrollton, Ga. Hunt was a three-star starter, who posted 50 tackles, 41 solo, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this past fall. “He’s physical, he’s long, and I’m really excited about what he can do in the future,” cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said.

— Craig Nelson, RB, 5-10, 180, Booker T. Washington, Miami, Fla. Nelson rushed for 1,074 yards and 10 scores, while adding 600 receiving yards and five receptions for scores as a senior. He comes from a nationally-recognized program that won three national titles in his career, and was ranked No. 1 in the country in 2013 and No. 2 in 2014. “He came on strong at the end of his junior year,” IU running backs coach Deland McCullough said. He was kind of under the radar. he’s the first guy I ever recruited based purely on his senior tape. I’m glad I did.”

— Alfred “Lance” Bryant, DE, 6-1, 236, Manvel, Manvel, Tx. Bryant made 22 sacks, 38 tackles for loss and recorded 86 hurries during his high school career. He also finished with 120 tackles, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Bryant, a high school teammate of IU offensive lineman Mackenzie Nworah, is considered the No. 43 weak-side defensive end in the country by Rivals. “The thing that jumps out to me and us as a staff is his ability to rush the quarterback,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “That was something we were looking to add as a defensive staff.”

— Caleb Jones, OT, 6-9, 280, Lawrence North, Indianapolis. Jones earned all-state honors as a junior and senior, earning a place as the No. 82 offensive tackle in the country. ESPN also considers him the No. 12 prospect in the state. “Caleb brings great size and athleticism to this class,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said.

— Tyrese Fryfogle, WR, 6-2, 206, George County, Lucedale, Ms. Fryfogle is coming off a first team all-state season in Mississippi, where he caught 89 passes for 1,432 yards and 14 touchdowns this past fall. Fryfogle’s father, Trey, was a teammate of IU receivers coach Grant Heard at Ole Miss from 2000 to 2002.  “He’s a big, physical player who can stretch the field for us,” Heard said. “I’m excited to get him here.”

— Morgan Ellison, RB, 6-1, 220, Pickerington Central, Pickerington, Ohio. A former Ohio commit, Ellison announced his plans to become a Hoosier on Wednesday morning. The three-star running back broke both his legs in high school, playing one two games as a sophomore and none as a junior. Ellison returned as a senior and rushed for 1,841 yards and 29 scores. “The guy’s a tackle-breaking machine,” IU running backs coach Deland McCullough said. “I kind of call him Jordan Howard 2.0. The guy probably broke 20 tackles per game. he’s got a chip on his shoulder to show he’s one of the upper-end running backs in the country. He knows he’s gonna have an opportunity to come in here and play immediately.”

7 comments

  1. Good to see recruiting maintained its commits. The bigger question is where it goes for next year’s recruiting class higher ranked, same, or lower ranked. We will see. As over the last 60 plus years I am looking for a higher ranked recruiting class and once again I think it will be improved and higher ranked next year. An important cog in the wheel to make this happen is to find a way to bring back IU alum Justin Frye as offensive line coach.

  2. Most impressed with Morgan Ellison’s addition. Just saw a video of him which at the end he pulls on an IU hat announcing his decision. That video must be no earlier than today and if so this kid who is listed at 6’1″ and 220 can easily add 10-25 lb on what looks like a still lean and not yet fully developed build. If so he could be the type of sledgehammer back for 3-4 years that Jordan Howard was for his short interrupted time at IU. Really excited about positive impact a back like that can offer an offense looking for a lean forward running game.

    Holding out hope DE Bobby Roundtree signs the IU NLI. He is a promising prospect.

  3. Must have not affected senior season, but did some back away from Ellison because of 2 broken legs earlier in career or is that a total non factor.

  4. Minimal football expertise here but signing so far seem impressive. Heavy Indiana and Florida…So, for at least this year, the Frey move to Michigan had no impact?

  5. t, The 2nd game of his Soph. year he broke a leg, ending his season. In preseason camp of his Jr. year he broke the other leg and did not play again until this past season as a Sr. I don’t believe any program backed away. It is more like his recruiting never got off the ground till somewhere during his Sr. season. I book his superficial recruiting much like Tronti’s and 6 others players taken today on here as about the same. Also much like many of Kevin Wilson’s classes overachievers before they arrived. Until IU can earn enough notoriety to bring in some talent of higher rated value this will be the recruiting path to follow. Actually it is a strong path now that Coach Allen has proved he can build a stout D. So the notoriety is next.

  6. Several schools are in same situation that IU is in that they will depend on over achievers. I guess it depends on who ( meaning players and coaching staff) are able to implement their team goal achievement.
    Observation and this has been typical: Qb’s from Indiana go to Michigan (when will Brandon Peters play as Michigan keeps recruiting qb’s) Penn State (so far Tommy Stevens sets on bench at Penn State after decommitting from IU) Clemson (after decommitting from Tennessee he is going to Clemson). (Then the qb’s that left IU to play in lesser leagues especially Trey Roberson who would had started after Sud’s injury) Purdue (the higher rated qb’s that transferred from that program). That is quite a few QB’S. Hopefully, IU can develop better collaboration in the QB position. I give a congratulations to Zander and his contributions to the his 3 undefeated wins against Purdue. How many IU players can make that claim especially at qb.

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