Lucky No. 13 (and 14) commitment for Lynch

Right now, at this very moment, 14 rising high school seniors have committed to IU football for the class of 2009. The latest, Columbus quarterback Dustin Kiel and Carleton (Mich.) offensive lineman Charles Chapman, gave their verbal promise on Thursday. I talked to both this morning, and they fit into the mold of the kind of kids Bill Lynch has been recruiting — hard-working, talented, but slightly unknown.

But, wow, 14 commits? On July 18? That’s quite a bit. So much so, that I went back through IU’s commits from the past few years (thank you, Hoosier Nation) to see how this group stacks up so far.

2008 — 14 commits on July 18

2007 — 12

2006 — Three

2005 — Five

2004 — Three

2003 — One

That’s a dramatic difference, no? As best as I can tell, from talking to some of the recent commits, there are several factors coming into play.

— Lynch is getting established, and not playing catch-up.

— The optimism that comes from playing in a bowl game has translated into kids more willing to listen to IU.

— Opportunities to play.

— Lynch and his staff are preaching to each kid that IU is the right fit for them, and they the right fit for IU. It sounds hokey to you and me, but it works with 17-year-old kids.

The hidden benefit of receiving so many verbals so early is that you can now focus on the big fish, the four and five-star recruits that are game-changers. Instead of spending the fall and winter trying to slam together a class, Lynch can focus on a few players and give them more time than might have been available in years past.

11 comments

  1. It also allows them to focus on future years more than the other schools like Purdue who still has to be focused on the 2009 class.

  2. Scott,

    Coach Lynch can watch game film sent in and evaluate that way, he can’t make a phone call to a 2010 prospect until May of 2009 or off campus visit to a 2010 prospect until September 1st of 2009. Here is the basics of the contact rules:

    Division I: Football

    * SOPHOMORE YEAR:

    Phone Calls:

    1. Athlete may make calls to coach at his own expense.

    2. College coach cannot call athlete.

    Contacts (off-campus): None allowed

    * JUNIOR YEAR:

    Phone Calls: Once during May of athletes junior year.

    Contacts (off-campus): None allowed

    * SENIOR YEAR:

    Phone Calls: Once per week beginning September 1.

    Contacts:

    1. A college coach may contact the athlete or athlete’s parents/legal guardian (including evaluating the athlete off the college’s campus) six times.

    2. One evaluation can take place during September, October and November.

    They are allowed to have them at their open enrollment camps (providing the kids can pay for themselves), evaluate them, talk to them, work with them all they want up till then. My son is 8 and has been in IU youth camp twice already.

    These might have changed some, but doubtful they have.

  3. Having new facilities helps as well. I’ve read comments from recruits on Rivals about the north end zone facility, and its not even completed yet.

  4. Mike, I think Scott was just saying that if you are good to go on recruits, you can simply look more toward the future instead of worrying about the present.

  5. J Pat,

    That is why I included the statements about reviewing incoming films and having the kids in their camps to review.

    I was also saying how hard it is for the coaches to concentrate on those kids. They can’t make phone calls, can’t travel to watch them practice, they can only rely on information sent to them and what they see in camp.

    Hugh is right though, when you get a solid class of 3 star kids who have already committed, you can now start turning your attention toward the 5 star kids, especially those who play in positions that your team is thin or weak at.

  6. Mike, do you really think IU can lure “5 star” talent to Bloomington to play football? Those guys are going to USC, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Etc… Guess ya gotta recruit them though.

  7. Yeah, I think we might want to focus on 4 star players or higher ranked 3 star players, because there is not a chance for us to lure a 5 star player here.

  8. Steve O,

    Stranger things have happened. Illinois went 5-7, 1-11, 3-8, 2-9 and 2-10 from 2002-2006.

    Zook came in 2005, his first class featured 2 5 star recruits and a 4-star guy.

    He was 2-9 his first year.

    In 2006 he managed to land 4 4 star players, the Illini were 2-10.

    His 2007 recruiting class included an amazing 6 4 star kids and 2 5 star kids, next thing we know the Illini knock off #1 Ohio State at The Shoe and go on to play the Rose Bowl and end with a 9-4 record.

    In 2008 they have 7 4 star players coming in.

    So yeah, I think we can lure a 5 star player here, especially at the corner or wide receiver spot where IU could be hurting bad in 2009. There is more of a possibility of getting 3 or 4 guys that are ranked 4 stars, but we have to go after those big time players.

  9. I have to say that I wonder how honest the Illinois football program is being run by Zook. When I heard comments from Mendenhall and I have wondered how they have signed some of those kids. I undertand what you are saying though and I think we can lure the talent as well. I will never forget Finch selling out Hep like he did so I am glad he came here and can try to make up for it. It will take a couple 4 and 5 stars and the trend will follow.

  10. Mike P,

    With all due respect. Illinois has Ron Zook. Indiana has Bill Lynch.

    Ron Zook has been one of the best recruiters in the country no matter where he has been. We refused to spend the money to go get a coach like that.

  11. Scott,

    Remember though, before coming to Illinois, his college experience was all at Florida, it is not hard to sell kids to come play at Florida. He earned his Mr. Recruiter tag there.

    I’m just saying it was done there, it can be done here.

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