IU adds three JUCOs

Obviously, the recruiting websites — Peegs, 247Sports, Scout, etc. — were ahead of us on this, but as you know, IU has added three junior college commitments in the last 48 hours or so. My story for tomorrow’s paper follows:

Kevin Wilson has taken a number of questions — from media members and fans — about his philosophy on recruiting junior college transfers.
The first year Indiana coach has said repeatedly he sees high school players as more valuable than junior college players, simply because they have four years of remaining eligibility. But he will recruit a junior college player, he said, to fill a specific need.
Recent days have shown that Wilson realizes he has a lot of needs.
Three junior college players gave verbal commitments to the Hoosiers this week, giving Indiana five JUCO commitments in the 2012 class. David Cooper, a 6-foot, 230-pound middle linebacker from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, will enroll in January for spring practice. Shaine Boyle, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound cornerback from College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., and Tregg Waters, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Glendale (Ariz.) Community College, will enroll in the spring.
Wilson and several of his assistants, especially co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, had already developed good reputations among junior college coaches during their time in the Big 12 among JUCO hotbeds like Iowa and Kansas as well as the west coast junior colleges. Those coaches knew their philosophies and what they were looking for.
“We knew of Kevin when he was back at Oklahoma and Kevin always did a thorough job of first recruiting high school kids and then supplementing that by looking for junior college kids,” said Skip Parker, the offensive coordinator for Cooper’s squad at Coffeyville Community College. “…He brings in guys for specific reasons, not just to add a body.”
Obviously, Wilson has been looking for help on defense and specifically at linebacker and defensive back, no surprise considering that he will lose two starters from this year’s linebacking corps and three safeties from the secondary. Those groups were obviously in need of help anyway, considering that the Hoosiers rank last in both scoring defense (they allow 36.0 points per game) and total defense (452.6 yards per game).
Cooper becomes the third junior college linebacker in the class, joining Darrius Stroud of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and Jaccari Alexander of Iowa Central Community College. Stroud and Alexander are both outside linebackers, but Cooper can play in the middle. The graduated of Brockwood High School in Snellville, Ga., posted 102 tackles, including 13 for loss, two sacks and an interception.
“He’s primarily a run stopper first,” Parker said. “But he’s athletic enough that we can drop him into coverage and he does adequate stuff with that.”
Boyle gives the Hoosiers a true press cornerback and Waters is a hybrid defensive back with the speed to play cornerback and the size and instincts to play safety.
Boyle recorded 57 tackles and three interceptions as a freshman last season. This year, he has 37 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, and an interception. He combined speed and strength in a perfect blend, coaches said, and was brilliant in press coverage.
“Shaine Boyle is phenomenal,” Desert coach Dean Dowty said. “We used him on whoever the other team’s best receiver was. He could lock down whoever they would throw to.”
Waters gives the Hoosiers a more versatile defensive back. Glendale used him at safety because they were strong at cornerback, Coach Mickey Bell said he could play either in the Big Ten, but that he worked perfectly at safety at Glendale.
“He had great cover skills, which allowed us to man blitz more often,” Bell said. “He was really smart and could make all the adjustments. It was perfect for him to play there. He’s good in the run game too, and we could bring him down in the box on run plays.”
Bell mentioned Waters intelligence as a student repeatedly as well, which calls to mind something else Wilson said about junior college players. They’re in junior college for a reason, he said, so coaches have to be on the look out for academic and character related red flags.
On the surface at least, the Hoosiers appear to have recruited players who won’t make for issues in those areas. Waters was a strong high school student and only went to junior college because he wasn’t highly recruited. According to Bell, he’s carrying a grade point average of around 3.25. Cooper was an academic non-qualifier out of high school, but he’s slated to graduate junior college in December after just three semesters plus summer school.
Boyle has had a tougher road, but he says it has made him stronger and more appreciative of this opportunity. Boyle graduated from Hahnville (La.) High School in 2007 but didn’t have the grades to play where he wanted to. He went to one small college where he didn’t play football and dropped out after a year.. He then tranferred to a junior college in Mississippi where he was expected to play dropped out in 2009 when his girlfriend died of cancer, he said.
Boyle said College of the Desert discovered him by through highlights on YouTube and he used his two years there to earn several offers beyond the one he received from Indiana. The 23-year-old said it’s just setting in that he’s finally going to play in Division I.
“It’s just a blessing from God, that’s all you can say,” Boyle said. “I mean, there were a lot of times when I did want to give up, but one of the things that inspired me was hearing from my friends who were playing Division I ball and hearing them tell me their experiences. Now is my chance.”

10 comments

  1. Wow, Shaine Boyle has already dealt with some adversity in his young life. Good for him that’s he’s persevered. Sounds like he’s pointed in the right direction and appreciates the opportunity to play for IU. It’s been a while since IU had a true “shut-down” cornerback!

    These JUCO linebackers are significantly bigger than the IU linebackers the started against Ball State. The extra 25 lbs a man will make a difference in stopping the run and hopefully allow them to stay healthy.

    Better days are coming for IU football.

  2. I’m betting we’re not done yet. It’s funny. Fans at places like Alabama keep track of football scholarships they way we do with basketball.

  3. I’m not sure, but I believe a player can transfer from a JUCO to a DI school in January as long as they meet the academic requirements.

    I have to believe that all three will be in Bloomington for spring practice.

Comments are closed.