Monday notebook: Tom Allen really enjoyed his Sunday night

The sounds of jubilation emanating from 17th street on Sunday evening originated inside Tom Allen’s Memorial Stadium office.

“If you had been anywhere near this block, you would have heard me screaming for quite a bit,” Allen said.

The Indiana football coach had good reason to celebrate.

In securing a verbal commitment from Avon running back Sampson James, who flipped from Ohio State to IU following a weekend visit to Columbus, Allen landed the most lauded recruit of his two-year tenure as the Hoosiers’ head coach.

And, per the 247 Sports Composite database, one of the highest-rated prospects in recent program history.

Although Sunday began with the Hoosiers drawing up a postmortem for their 49-26 loss to the Buckeyes, it ended with considerable excitement. Indiana seldom lands playmakers the caliber of James, considered the No. 8 high school senior running back in the country.

Seven of the top 10 running backs nationally are committed, putting IU in a group of schools that includes Georgia, Penn State, Stanford, LSU, Michigan and Ole Miss.

Allen now has 16 players committed for the 2019 recruiting class, which is ranked No. 41 nationally and No. 10 in the Big Ten, per 247 Sports. Last year’s class finished at No. 49 nationally and No. 10 in the league.

“We tell our team, we tell our coaches, it’s always about recruiting,” Allen said.

Both inside the state and beyond.

Indiana now has commitments from two of the top four in-state players in the 2019 cycle, James and four-star Carmel defensive end Beau Robbins.

According to, IU has three of the top six in-state prospects with cornerback Larry Tracy of Decatur Central joining James and Robbins.

It’s possible that another prospect or two could come from that group.

The Hoosiers are actively recruiting Warren Central wide receiver David Bell and Andrean linebacker Cameron Williams.

The four-star Bell is IU’s top priority. A 6-foot-2, 185-pound multi-sport star, he is also considering offers from Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State and Iowa, among others, and is scheduled to take an official visit to IU on Dec. 7.

Receiver is a position of need for the Hoosiers, who earlier lost three-star prospect Emery Simmons to Penn State, by way of North Carolina. In August, IU landed a commitment from 6-foot-5 Georgia native Jordan Jakes, a three-star prospect now playing at a private school in Baltimore.

“We’re really emphasizing that,” Allen said. “You’ve got some guys that will be moving on, and we’ve got to continue to get our numbers right at that position.”

In a class that might increase by a handful, IU already has three offensive linemen and four defensive linemen committed to join the program next season. Those two positions are also at the top of Allen’s wish list.

Meantime, the IU coach likes what he has on tap.

“For me, to be able to continue to expand on the relationships I have in state here (is a priority),” Allen said. “I know a lot of these coaches extremely well, and they believe in what we’re building here and the way we’re building it.”

No updates on injuries
Indiana had a trio of key players held out of this past week’s game at Ohio State due to injuries.

Then, the Hoosiers lost a couple more in Columbus.

Whether any of them will be available for Saturday’s homecoming matchup with Iowa won’t be known until later this week, Allen said.

Receiver Luke Timian and defensive tackle Jacob Robinson each missed their third straight game, while receiver Whop Philyor didn’t play for the second consecutive week. Left tackle Coy Cronk and safety Devon Matthews also sustained injuries against the Buckeyes and did not return to action.

None of their injuries has been specified.

“My hope and intent is that the majority of those guys will be back (at some point),” Allen said. “I feel good about the progress we’re making from the guys that got dinged up during the game, and then the guys that wore out the week before, to be able to continually work them back into the fold.

“They’re just working as much as they possibly can with our training staff and maximizing the rehab time we have and all the resources and facilities we have. So feel good about several of them. Won’t know for sure for a couple more days.”

Praise for Tater
Tom Allen loves a good nickname. Especially a name that’s succinct, like the one belonging to walk-on offensive lineman Dominic Altimari, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound redshirt freshman.

When Allen stood before the team during Monday morning’s first meeting of the week, he announced Altimari as one of IU’s scout team players of the week by simply stating the name everyone in the program knows him by — “Tater.”

“You’ve got to be a special guy when you have a one-name nickname and that’s all that has to be said,” Allen said. “I don’t even have a one-name nickname that they know me as. I got two names. But Tater’s just got one. … He’s a big ol’ guy and we love him.”

What is Allen’s nickname, you ask?

“Coach Allen,” he said with a smile.

Other weekly honors
With five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown at Ohio State, receiver Nick Westbrook earned IU’s offensive player of the week honor.

Defensively, Tom Allen singled out leading tackler Dameon Willis with weekly recognition after the redshirt senior made a game-high nine tackles, including four solo stops.

Isaac James, Raheem Layne and Jaylin Williams were named the special teams players of the week, while Allen also recognized scout team players Jeremy Boyd, James Miller, Ryan Smith and Aaron Casey for their work leading into the Ohio State game.

Penn State kick time announced
Indiana’s Oct. 20 home game against Penn State will kick off at 3:30 p.m.

The contest will be carried on either ABC or ESPN.


  1. IU got very good news heading into the Iowa week when James flipped to IU. This game can be a big boost in having a winning season. Coming back home should give the Hoosiers a boost and I hope they keep the intensity they had against OSU. Iowa will be a tough test but one where IU matches up well athletically. It gets down to who makes the fewest mistakes, who makes the most plays, and who can finish drives the best.

  2. Considering the top programs pursuing the high level recruits coming out of Indiana high schools, there appears to be a real surge in football talent from our state.

    If Allen can continue to convince some of the surge in talent to stay close to home, it will be our best chance in making true inroads against the premier teams of our conference.

    “Multi-sport” star athletes……seems to also be trending upward in the state. By sheer size, football rosters provide more opportunity. Indiana Football may be able to capture an increasing pool of multi-sport athletes hoping football is their best pathway to playing a sport at the college level …or, ultimately, a professional level.

    With all that said, I worry that seeking far away recruits only to conservatively keep that talent on the bench (e.g. Penix) might be counterproductive to the inroads made in the state. We can’t afford to lose a far away talent for every additional homegrown gained.
    While Allen celebrates in his office, Michael Penix may be hanging his head lower in his dorm room….

  3. The Penix situation is baffling to me other than they want to red-shirt him; I have to ask why though as if he gains 25 to 35 lbs and is as good as he seems he won’t stay past 2020 or 2021. Why sacrifice for an extra year when IU can be sure he will stay that long. I am just saying have a package for him to get him in every game especially when the offense isn’t scoring more than 1 TD every second half. So far he protects the ball, has more arm, and leads the offense to put points on the board. It sure seems like I would try to fix our second half drought by bringing Penix in to see if he provides a spark that is missing.

    The coaches see both QBs every day at practice and I know we don’t have all the info they have about Ramsey and Penix. However as effusive they were about praising Penix before the season, why would you not use him to spark the second half offense. It would make defenses react to a different type of QB who changes the offense somewhat.

  4. And now we know why Ellison was suspended. The Indy Star just reported that Ellison was accused of Sexual Assault on a female student. I’ll save you the details, but a female claims Ellison assaulted her while she was sleeping and then, when she awoke, he used force to continue. Ellison claims it was all consensual and that he never used force. It’s a classic “he said/she said” situation. But these days, especially on a college campus, a female’s accusation is enough. Interestingly, Ellison has not yet been charged with a crime by either the Bloomington police of IU’s campus police.

    Hey guys, understand that when she says “no,” she means it! So stop immediately, get out of there, apologize for making her feel uncomfortable, and leave her alone. Otherwise, you risk ruining your life. And if she is incapable of saying no, you should not be with her or in that situation in the first place.

  5. How about some common decency? If you have to tell your kid that “no means no,” then you’ve done a terrible job from the start. Matter of fact, it’s probably how you got your kid.

  6. Down with due process and guilty until proven innocent. That’s 1 way to eliminate attorneys. Progress in reverse.

  7. In sexual assault cases therE is often a ‘process’…and when no one can witness or watch, a creep will ‘do’ it.

    Absolutely, due process….along with an understanding process that removes the shame and stigma creeps are building to silence those brave enough to go up against endless doubt, power, and the potential of more violence/assaults.

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