Wilson says Turner, Banks, Harris left team, St. Fort suspended after arrest

Kevin Wilson was asked about the departure of one of his players, then decided he might as well get the news about several others out of the way.

The Indiana football coach confirmed that sophomore tailback Nick Turner left the program after news broke last night that that was the case. After that, Wilson said that sophomore tailback Antonio Banks and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Marlandez Harris had also left the program. He then added that seldom-used junior cornerback Peter St. Fort had been arrested and suspended indefinitely. Police logs show that St. Fort was arrested at 4:22 a.m. on Sunday and was charged with driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.

Wilson said that Turner told him on Tuesday he would be leaving the program.

“He came in and said he didn’t want to play,” Wilson said. “Thought it was a good choice because he hadn’t been practicing hard. … He came in to practice Monday, dressed and then took his clothes off and went home. Came in Tuesday and said he didn’t want to play. Said he’d been thinking about it for a month or two. I said, ‘Well, the way you were practicing, that’s why you weren’t starting at running back. That’s why we put you on defense. You hadn’t made any clicks there. That’s why we put you on special teams took you off special teams.’ Because he’s been going through the motions, because he’s not physical. He’s a nice kid. He’s got good talent. He’s a smart young man. I just don’t know if he wants to play. I kinda thought it was a good choice. Wished him well, had no issues.”

Wilson said Banks and Harris both quit this week. He said one of the two — he didn’t clarify — was academically ineligible.

Wilson said that sophomore quarterback Ed Wright-Baker has returned to practice after missing Saturday’s game with an ankle injury. He said Dusty Kiel would likely start because he’s still more healthy but believes Wright-Baker will likely be available.

“He did a lot more today,” Wilson said of Wright-Baker. “… He looks good. He’s definitely practiced. Dusty’s still got the bulk of it. He might get them all. I haven’t really spoke to the offensive coaches. I would presume at this second that we’ll start with Dusty, but Ed looked good enough today. We’ll talk about it tonight and see if it changes.”

Wilson said that freshman D’Angelo Roberts was back to practice full time for the first time Wednesday after missing a week. Wilson said he did some work Monday and at the end of last week but sort of regressed. He said JUCO transfer Stephen Houston and redshirt freshman Matt Perez have had the bulk of the carries. He said South graduate and walk-on David Blackwell is also available with the team low on backs. Turner and Banks make five running backs who have left the program since last season. The others are Zach Davis-Walker, Darius Willis and Xavier Whitaker.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson


  1. He “took his close off and went home.”? My wife just rescinded her offer at the Norwin Star. She says she might as well just go with an intern.

  2. Is the fox chasing the chickens out of the barn? That atmosphere produces bloody eggs. And you can’t sell bloody eggs.

  3. Trimming the fat. With a new regime that happens in all walks of life whether sports or the private/public sector.

  4. So, we basically have as many tail backs left as the average NFL team. If we had 12 backs people would be asking why so-and-so wasn’t getting any reps. It’s pretty much what I expected. Didn’t everyone?

  5. Wish these guys the best of luck. There’s been a lot of talk about wanting to change the “culture” around IU Football. I think this is it.

  6. I love how Wilson takes shots at guys after they choose to leave a team he obviously has no idea how to run. Nice pick Glass.

  7. I don’t see how you come up with that. He was just agreeing with the player in question that his heart (or mind) didn’t seem to be into football right now. You’re just not used to a coach being open and honest. Under BL everything was always just peachy…until Saturday rolled around.

  8. I have to agree Chet. Turner has made a lot of post on facebook in the last few weeks that has made it sound as if he didn’t want to play anymore. last week before all this broke I emailed DD about Nick leaving or possibly leaving the team.

    People who have not followed him prior to IU don’t realize that he was a track star first. I believe he holds the IHSAA record for the 200M by a freshman, was on the USA track team, qualified for state in the 200M multiple times, his best finish being 4th. They also might not know the he choose not to play football as a junior to concentrate on track. He earned his ride to IU based off basically 1 year of high school football, which was a very, very impressive year. I will say this, if his heart wasn’t in it, I’m gald he choose to leave the team and free up a scholarship for a future recruit. I wish him the best and sincerly hope he finishes his degree program for his future.

  9. Harris had lots of potential on the D-line; however, I’m sure he was the one who was academically ineligible.

  10. Absolutely great comment Mike P. Good analysis…track and field takes an extraordinary amount of talent and a version-but different version- of discipline than football. Beyond the obvious, the runner tends to be very results oriented from a very self directed manner. Football is very much of a “team production game”, where a track and field star can be on a lousy team and a hero for individual performances.

    Just a different psychology. I too wish Nick Turner luck and wish him the best for great things on the track and in the classroom.

    At the same time, Coach Wilson has to remain focused, as he is, on those who can contribute to creating a progressively better football culture at IU through their improving performance within his vision and demands.

    As for Harris, Higgi…are you sure he is the one? Is there a point in publicizing it for all to know? Should we point at him as he walks through campus? Frankly, if true, his potential to contribute on the D-line is absolutely 0. When he gets eligible, then he’ll have potential on the D-line.

  11. This is discussion worthy…You must remember for years now IU has been a fairly good MAC team trying to play big ten football…Several players could go…so you lose a little above average MAC players….Hopefully IU will have big ten calibar players in the near future.

  12. This was expected. More will come at the end of the season. My opinion is that it’s necessary and good for the future of IU football. And if the players were not into the new culture or playing football any more, why risk injury and take a roster spot that someone that is passionate about the game could use?

    I wish them all the best in their respective futures.

    Surprised their weren’t more delicate hand-wringers posting about this news!

    Maybe I missed it, but what story was cyjackson reading?

  13. TTG, an excellent point. Two of my 3 kids competed in individual sports in college. They just weren’t comfortable with the subjectivity of hs coaches (though they did well in all their sports). They just felt more comfortable controlling their own fates. I hope it all works out as well for Nick.

  14. The good thing about personnel losses during mid season is it allows the staff to focus on recruiting replacements while the marketplace still has plenty of talent to choose vs. the end of the season. We very well could end up with quality recruits(or even better)like Bobby Richardson, Murphy and the Hardin boys.

  15. HC, It really doesn’t help any. Coaches know who they need to be recruiting based on performance, these positions the caoches were well aware before they left that they needed players to replace them who were better players. Unfortuantly they can’t really step up their recruiting due to NCAA guidlines. They are in what is called a quiet period until 11/27/2011.

  16. Mike, I like your drift for a couple of reasons. The quiet period does allow the staff time to re-think their needs list now that they have more rides to offer. There very well will be more energy placed on at least 3 more prospects than was originally intended.
    Depending on whether a person thinks it is Hoyle or not to make initial inquiries, there could be much upheaval in 2012 verbals now committed to the remaining 6 FB teams of the BigE. It very well could be the end for a conference and any relevance it once held. I honestly do not know how a commit would feel about his teams conference losing viability. Might be big.

  17. HC, you raise an interesting question. How much does the conference a team plays in affect a recruit’s desire to play for a given school? My guess is, as long as the school is considered a major school that provides top competition and exposure, the conference designation has little impact. But it will be interesting to see what happens.

    Regardless, my guess is that IU has little opportunity in that region of the country. I don’t think Wilson or the majority of his staff have much experience recruiting in those areas. My guess is, Wilson will go after more JC talent. He needs some immediate help and can guarantee the right JC recruits will be starters.

  18. I try to make certain assumptions about coaches. In the case of Coach Wilson, I made the assumption that 1. He knows who he is and what he wants out of people from the stand point of character and competitive work ethic. 2. He knows what he wants to fit his system and, just as important, he knows what he doesn’t want. 3. He came into the IU job with his eyes wide open, knowing we had a history of failure and a culture (with a few years of exception/i.e. Mallory)of softness, low expectations and inconsistent talent 4. Given his history as a top and long-time assistant he would only step into a situation that needed total rebuilding and restructuring 5. A situation like IU’s would be the most likely to give him the total control he needed and wanted to carry out his plan 5. He would make his vision and plan clear to the A.D. (Glass) and the assistants he hired, with understanding that his is the last and most important vote on goals, objectives, methods and talent.

    I really do believe that this is what Glass heard and saw. I also believe that perhaps as this awareness developed, there may have been one or two assistants who were not prepared for this intense an environment. So they left…that was wise in their part and wise on the part of Wilson to accept it as part of what he wanted from them.

    One can think whatever fits their philosophy regarding implementing a philosophy and translating it into a way of life. You don’t know the first thing about any of your players until the first play, until the first time someone unloads one on your throat or a coach says ‘I need and expect a lot more than this from you”. From this standpoint, even Coach Wilson needed to see and experience his players….and they, needed to experience Coach Wilson.

    Now he has. Coach Wilson now knows that he probably has X number of players who share his view and want to soak in his philosophy. Some are inevitably leaving because clearly they don’t, it is not who they are. Nothing wrong with this. Certainly nothing wrong with the philosophy or the staff. It just is.

    I really do believe that there was a certain ‘softness’ that was a part of IU football to this point (again with the clear exception of the Pont and Mallory years). It was also evident in the fans, and it is still evident in some of the comments I read from time to time. Nothing wrong with these opinions…only that it is right to expect that they should and will have little influence over the next few of the ‘Wilson years” and that is exactly as it should be. We were asking for that change and now we are getting it.

    In that sense, we may eventually be at a point where we will have much more pride in having experienced this period without the reward of immediate success and stood up under that immediate satisfaction than with any eventual major successes we may reap as a result of having experienced it.

    As devoted Hoosier fans we really do need to ‘harden up’ and struggle when we need to accept struggle as a positive.

  19. I will be very surprised if we don’t have a good number of transfers after the season is over or perhaps in the spring. I will view that as a good thing. Not that there is anything wrong with the players or the program. It is just a matter of players playing in a program where they fit. I will be very surprised to see a player leave and pick up a roster spot at a notable ‘football school’. I am also of the opinion the Coach is a better judge of talent than BL (or, at least, sets the bar higher)and will prove to be a better ‘closer’ come recruiting time.

  20. Tsao: your point about Hoosier fans need to harden up is excellent and I concur completely.

    Chet; I agree with your prediction about transfers. Do you want to estimate the number of transfers that will occur? I estimate that eight more players (in addition to the ones that quit this week) will transfer between now and the end of December. And honestly, I think most of the players transferring will discover that they belonged at a mid-major or D1AA school in the first place, and will be happier as a result.

  21. Chet, you may be right. And, Podunker, I don’t think I would want to ‘guess’ at this. It may serve all of us better to just let it happen as it happens and to leave it totally in KW’s hands. While I absolutely know yours is the kind of positive attitude that Hoosiers need, the ‘guessing’ and ‘playing with numbers and the ‘who will go, who will stay’ is the kind of speculation others love to use and play with. I absolutely am not saying this as a criticism of your post, just an undercurrent that exists in an attitude that I hope is in our past. I trust this man’s (KW’s) judgment, professionalism and vision enough to leave it in his hands.

    Good to know there are quite a few of us (you and Chet and several others included) who seem to understand the challenge of the moment may be as much in us as with the young men on the team.

  22. I don’t get the sense that KW and staff are trying to run any of the players off the team (yet). They may be, but that’s not the sense I get. I believe KW has raised the bar and is refusing to lower his standards or make exceptions. He has challenged the players to produce much greater effort. Some will rise to that challenge and some will conclude that they don’t want to or can’t. The ones that won’t or can’t are the players that will most likely depart the team, because football is not going to be fun for them.

    The reason I asked the question about estimating numbers is that since BL became head coach, I monitored and tracked his recruits. For each BL recruiting class, I identified (privately) those players that I thought would do well and those I thought would leave early. I have not and won’t share my conjecture about those players with anyone, but there was a number, from the 2009 and 2010 classes, that I thought would not stay (even assuming BL remained the coach). With the arrival of KW and his much higher performance standards, I’ll find it interesting to see if my original assessments were on target or not. I honestly hope I’m dead wrong about all of them and that no more leave the team. I believe, for the most part, BL recruited good young men with solid character, so I’d like to see them excel and have a great experience at IU. Unfortunately, I suspect some of those fine young men just don’t have the physical tools or mental toughness required to play in the Big Ten.

    Regardless of their record this year, these are highly interesting times for IU football. Perhaps the most interesting and exciting times since Mallory took over the program.

  23. I absolutely agree with every bit of your comment Podunker. Had I known about your own private ‘data ban’ on BL’s recruits, I would not have commented. I think doing that, to test your own hypothesis later is great an valid.

    I do agree with each point you made on this post…and, I think what I am seeing is beginning to make the “vision” a bit more readable to me. I especially agree about what an interesting and exciting period this is turning out to be. The change is palpable and encouraging. I could see and feel it all over the place, even with the mistakes considered.

  24. I graduated from IU in 1956, 55 years ago I heard the sam e stories then as I hear now I,m a realist finally it ain<t going to ever get much better. God himself can,t be competitive in the
    big Ten or 11 or 12. But I,ll still root for them.

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