Signing day report — LOIs for 19 recruits are in

Darius Willis smiles at the thought of playing for Bill Lynch.

Indiana has a handful of players who already faxed in their signed letters of intent this morning. That group includes running backs Darius Willis (above) and Alex Hunt, QB Adam Follett, defensive tackles Nick Sliger and Mike Mentzer, receivers Tandon Doss and Tyler Adetona and defensive end Larry Black.

Interesting to hear that Willis, the most anticipated recruit in this signing class, was the first player to get his letter of intent in this morning.

The pair of wide receivers that are in – Adetona (Georgia) and Doss (Indianapolis) – are also among the top-rated players in IU’s class.

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I see from IUHoosiers.com that receiver Charles Love III from Memphis also has his letter of intent in. For a story that’s on HoosiersHQ.com and in the H-T today, I was talking with Charles and his family yesterday as tornado warnings were being made in Memphis. The severe weather – which ultimately was deadly some places in the South – didn’t impact their home in Memphis, but the warnings forced the closing of Charles’ school early yesterday just before I talked with him.

There is video, photo and comments about the recruits from Bill Lynch at IUHoosiers.com, which is the athletic department’s Web site. You can check that out by clicking here.

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Two more letters of intent are in: offensive linemen Will Matte from Wheaton, Ill. and Justin Pagan from Chicago. By my count, that gives IU 13 2008 recruits who’ve returned their official written commitments to play at IU, 11 who are still in high school now, plus two others – Florida offensive lineman A.J. Thompson and Virginia defensive end Kyle Kozak – who are already on campus this semester.

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I just spoke with Boca Ciega High School coach Stevie Thomas, the coach of the biggest Hoosier recruiting target still on the board, quarterback Orhian Johnson. Coach Thomas said Johnson is still set to make the announcement of his choice at 11:30 this morning. It sounds like – and I don’t think I’ve ever reported this before about a football recruit – that it’s down to Ohio State and Indiana for Johnson.

I’m supposed to talk with Coach Thomas again at about 11:45 to find out what Johnson announces. I’ll keep you posted.

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I just heard that an Ohio State recruiting Web site, bucknuts.com, is reporting that Johnson will announce that he’s going to be a Buckeye. Assuming that news is correct, I guess it won’t be a huge surprise to Hoosier fans, but will be disappointing nonetheless.

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Fort Wayne wide receiver Marquelo Suel, Cicero running back Chad Sherer and Florida defensive back Peter St. Fort are the latest to have their letters of intent in IU’s hands, according to various sources and reports. That leaves three of IU’s 19 verbals – Milwaukee RB Shane Covington, Illinois O-lineman Marc Damisch and Michigan defensive back Cortez Smith – who haven’t yet returned their letters of intent. Covington and Smith are two of the higher rated players among IU’s verbals, so I’m sure the coaches are anxious to see these final three roll of the fax machine in their offices at Memorial Stadium.

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Lots of signing day news today on HoosierNation.com. John Decker and the other Scout.com reporters are always really helpful to me on Signing Day with news and analysis so I’d like to give them some credit here.

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As you look at Coach Lynch’s comments about various players, you see the word “explosive” a number of times. It’s really apparent, I think, that the staff is continuing to try to improve the team’s speed with this year’s recruiting class. It’ll be a year or two, I suppose, before we really can gauge the effectiveness of that, although an “explosive” receiver like Tyler Adetona might make a difference next season, along with fellow frosh Darius Willis and perhaps a DB or two.

Talking with someone close to the coaching staff today, I hear that the coaches are very happy with this class, which they think is the best one in this staff’s four years at IU. They acknowledge that this class won’t get as many stars from the recruiting analysts as some of those other Big Ten schools, but they say it is filled with players they brought to camp at IU. Having watched these guys up close, they say it’s a class with a number of playmakers in it.

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Andy Romey of Rivals.com has confirmed the news on Orhian Johnson. Romey reports that he’s been in contact this morning with Johnson who should be announcing right now that he is signing with Ohio State.

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Just talked Orhian Johnson’s coach Stevie Thomas. He said that Johnson just announced to reporters that he picked Ohio State over Indiana and South Florida. He said Johnson didn’t go into any detail about why he chose the Buckeyes. I’m guessing that playing in a couple of national title games in a row didn’t hurt The Ohio State University much.

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Rucker has picked Memphis (his hometown school) over IU, according to Andy Romey of Inside Indiana. I think that decision today doesn’t matter nearly so much as Johnson’s did. Indiana’s recruiting class is already loaded with wide receivers and Rucker isn’t as highly rated as some others in the group.

The thing with Johnson is that he would have been the first really athletic recruit at QB for the Hoosiers since Kellen Lewis. Unless IU’s o-line makes dramatic improvement over the next couple of years, that’s the kind of quarterback the Hoosiers will need again to be successful on offense after Lewis is gone.

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Just talked with John Decker of HoosierNation.com. He says the word is that IU’s staff is not concerned about the three letters of intent it hasn’t received yet (Covington, Damisch, Smith). All three are expected in before the day is out. Apparently bad weather may have delayed Covington and Damisch returning their LOIs and Smith is in the process of sending his in.

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The letters of intent for all 19 of the players who gave Indiana verbal commitments have now been received in IU’s football office. So unless there’s a surprise last-minute commitment, the recruiting class is exactly what we thought it was coming into today. If there isn’t any other news before then, we’ll be back after Lynch’s 3:30 press conference with comments from several IU coaches and some further info about each of the signees.

11 comments

  1. I haven’t heard any thing about Rucker announcing a decision. Will let you know as soon as we do. His announcement is expected to be this afternoon. Thanks for the question.

  2. Since it is LOI day for other Fall sports too, any chance you could check in on Men’s soccer? Would appreciate updates as it looks like Coach Frietag put together another stellar class.

  3. We will check on men’s soccer. The last I heard was that IU wanted to wait until Friday to announce its men’s soccer signees, but we’ll try to get that for you today.

  4. Yeagley Rules,

    There’s apparently a possibility that IU won’t receive its soccer letters today.

    If they do, they’ll let us know.

  5. Bob,

    It appears as though Marcus Rucker is the only un-committed player left (that we know of) who is still considering IU.

    Isaiah Pead, the cornerback from Ohio who had considered Indiana, appears to have picked Cincinnati.

    Orhian Johnson, as noted in a comment above, is believed to be announcing for Ohio State in 20 minutes.

    I’ll try to track down what I can on Rucker, but the Indiana seems to have a steep slope to climb: the 6-3 wide out is also considering the school in his hometown, Memphis.

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