Another Indiana commit flips within the conference

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Indiana lost another player from its 2015 recruiting class Saturday after athlete Titus Booker flipped from IU to Wisconsin.

Booker, a 6-foot-, 180-pound three-star running back/ cornerback from Grayslake, Ill., announced on his Twitter account shortly after the Hoosiers’ 45-23 loss to Rutgers that he intends to play for Wisconsin next season.

He posted the following message to a tweet:

“I am decommitting from Indiana University and am committing to The University of Wisconsin. In the recruiting process you have to do what’s best for you and I feel like this is the right move for me. I’d like to thank Indiana University’s coaching staff, commits and fans for being so great to me. But when it comes to recruiting I will do what’s best for me.”

Booker originally picked IU over Wisconsin, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Western Michigan. He has the kind of speed that would have made him valuable to Indiana in either the defensive or offensive backfields, with a 40-yard dash time clocked at 4.4 seconds.

2015 quarterback Tommy Stevens (Decatur Central) flipped from IU to Penn State on Monday.

29 comments

  1. That’s what losing will do. I’m sure recruits over the years were seeing the gains in the program, but even though losing your star QB changes the course of the season, these kids will just naturally gravitate to something that looks good now.
    Next year will be huge in determining where the state of the program is and if IU will be set back greatly in recruiting.

  2. Oh I think we have our answer regarding recruiting HGM. This is much deeper than losing our starting QB. This is an undisciplined team that has digressed in all phases of the game. The slide has begun and only a change at the top will make a difference now.

  3. I have been for keeping Wilson for the duration of contract and see what happens. Knowing iu fb tradition I still am. It will provery satisfactory or it looked l reached a certain level and quickly ste

  4. Continued: looked like it was going to reach a certain level and quickly took a step in the wrong direction. (For a number of reasons). At or near end if things turn in right direction (over 6 wins in one season and that is counting pre-conference wins) Wilson is offered contract extension. If below 6 wins (in one season) . Thank him for some positives and move in another direction. Like an over and under. At 6 wins other factors such player behavior, atmosphere, culture, academics, and recruiting direction etc would greatly impact decision as they do now but even more so.

  5. FW Hoosier-We have been making changes at the top, 10 of them, since my degree in the late 1950’s and it only really worked once(Mallory). The new guy would have the same problems as the other ten before him in fan apathy, small crowds that leave early, and the history that is us in football. Let us hang on longer with this coach just once and see what happens instead of once again starting all over again.

  6. I understand what you are saying Mr Walker but tell me how it could be worse than it is now? Wilson has proven he is not up to the task of a Head Coach in the B1G and now the kids know it. They will not come here to play for this staff if they have any other options. Every phase of the game for this team has gotten worse. How can a change be a problem?

  7. Justin Albers just tweeted Wilson has made $345,846 per win in the last 4 years(and that’s likely to go up). That’s a problem Mr Walker

  8. Will Musdhamp got fired from Florida and some of the reason was him losing recruiting battles. Not only is Wilson losing recruiting battles but he’s losing recruits to schools WITHIN the conference.That says more than anything Wilson can say to allay fears

  9. It does not matter who he’s losing recruiting battles to. What matters is that the talent IU needs to improve is deciding to go elsewhere. I doubt Booker will be the last recruit from this class to flip. These young men are attracted by the prospect of being a part of a program on the rise. That’s always exciting. But in reality, they’re taking a wait and see approach. When the program they originally commit to appears to be digressing instead of progressing, knowing they have options, they flip. A new coach has a window of opportunity in which to change the perception about a school’s program. Wilson was successful in beginning to change the perception about IU football during the first three years of his tenure. But this year, the perception is that the program has taken a major step backward. These recruits don’t know the reasons why, and they don’t care. I still believe Wilson can produce a winning season next year and get the program back on track. But next year will be Wilson’s last chance to turn the program around. If the 2015 season, Wilson’s fifth as head coach, turns out to be a replay of this season, Wilson will have lost the ability to recruit the talent necessary to compete in the Big Ten, and the law of diminishing returns will once again take hold in Bloomington.

  10. I’m at peak frustration with IU Football’s results just as much as the next fan who not only bothers to watch the games, but also spend time posting about it on IU blogs. I’m eternally frustrated by the consistent arguments between two sets of people that only see the issue as “Supporting Wilson” vs “Fire Wilson.” There’s little substantive dialog and it starts getting personal by the 2nd sentence of the 1st graph.

    Going back to the hire, IU had limited choices: 1) hire an established coach that fell out of favor (Mike Leach) or 2) hire an unproven, but up and comer (Wilson, Don Treadwell or Dave Doeren). Indiana would NEVER EVER EVER EVER be able to hire a proven successful D1 coach no matter how much money they would throw at them. Doeren has been killing it, but Treadwell massively bombed at Miami of Ohio and is now a running backs coach at powerhouse Kent State).

    Harvard made a great point in an earlier thread (stop the presses). The new coach wasn’t coming in to take over a program. He had to build one from scratch. Fred Glass didn’t make a decision in a bubble either – he brought in Polian and Dungy to assist with the search. So, the criteria wasn’t just about finding a guy with a football acumen, it was finding someone with a mindset that wouldn’t roll over and quit when the going got tough. This is easily the biggest reclamation project in the history of college football (some of you argued against this when I said it earlier, but I remain unconvinced–still want to see how anyone can prove that any football program had less going for it than IU).

    We have almost 4 years of Wilson and the results are mixed. Indiana has found many more ways to lose close games than win them. The B1G is really down, yet we are still not just licking, but sucking off the bottom of the barrel. The defense is objectively better this year, but the offense is markedly worse, which goes beyond just losing a starting QB to injury. We have one of the best RBs in the country and still lose by over 3 TDs after he manages to run for over 300 yds. Case in point: I don’t have the college results, but TEH GOOGLE tells me that in the NFL, if a TEAM rushes for over 300 yds, those teams were 66 – 1 since the merger of the AFC and NFC. Indiana invents new ways to get beat on a weekly basis.

    The fans don’t want anything to do with supporting the team. The lackluster support even in the best of years is almost nonexistent. Hard to blame them, but they are part of the problem. Recruits and talented coaches don’t like looking up and looking at Limestone.

    I don’t know if Kevin Wilson is the guy for the job or not. What I do know, is that those who think things will get better if he’s fired this year, have very little say about HOW someone else would do a better job. Indiana still has VERY limited options for hiring yet another coach to pull the Cream and Crimson off the bottom of the dogpile. I’m pulling for Wilson not because I particularly love the guy, but because right now, he’s really still the best hope to get to 6 wins. The alternative of hiring another untested coach or some retread, in my view, is a far riskier proposition that will set us back another 5 years before we can even evaluate whether he is the right guy for the job or not.

    I have no idea if he can do it or not, but even if Mark Cuban or Vladimir Putin bankrolled the salary, we’d still have the same calculus we have above. Indiana is a coaching graveyard (no pun intended) and I’m still waiting for another season to evaluate before I join those in a call to replace him. When Glass anointed Wilson, it was the guy he had to ride for longer than other programs get the luxury of doing.

    But this season has been horrendous even with the key injuries.

  11. We have seen the peak of this program under Wilson. To delay the inevitable is just prolonging the pain. We need to be looking NOW

  12. DD, your logic is flawed. Do you know for a fact that IU seriously considered hiring an experienced coach with a winning record? How is it that many other schools can identify and hire someone who can AT LEAST make them competitive? IU’s first problem is that it is a big school that has this annoying habit of thinking small. “Oh gee, we have been down in football forever. We will never be any good. No one wants to coach here.” The excuses we’ve all heard ad nauseum. These kids have a limited window of opportunity to develop their skills. Why should they care about the past when it is all about today and tomorrow in their eyes? A “name” hire sends the message that IU means business and absolutely will get the attention of talented kids who want to play for a winner. Sure, go ahead and give KW a pass this year, but what happens after five years, six years, seven years if the school continues to play lackluster football? There is little tangible evidence that this team is on the cusp of greatness with KW at the helm. In the end, I think the loser’s mentality has become so ingrained in the minds of the university that they are afraid to pull the trigger. Who wants to shout the praises of their school when there is little to brag about?

  13. Chaz,

    I don’t think you understand what the word and concept of the word “logic” in order to make a credible determination if it is “flawed.”

    Firstly, it doesn’t really matter what I think. Nor does it matter what you think. I’m fairly certain you aren’t on a first name basis with the IU Varsity Club and neither am I. So, we have little influence over this decision. All the huffing and puffing, tears and hurmphing is futile. I’m just trying to demonstrate that your simplism around this issue is shortsighted. It isn’t a defense of Kevin Wilson (although, my ultimate conclusion is one of support vs the alternatives).

    Indiana started it’s search just like any other school does. I don’t have concrete evidence written down and emailed to me by the Indiana Athletic Dept, but there is a logic behind it. I can only extrapolate, so read no further if you’re looking for a smoking gun.

    As mentioned, Bill Polian and Tony Dungy were actively involved with Glass in the search. Like every search, there a few layers and methods for recruiting candidates for the job (I’d love Jeremy or Mike’s input in here if you fellas feel like wading into the cesspool):

    1) They identify a number of coaching candidates who are on their wish list. There’s very little discrimination and they

    2) All who are involved call their personal contacts. They say they are looking for a coach and start seeing if there is interest. Polian and Dungy weren’t involved just for their football knowledge. They have a long reach in the football community and likely made a number of personal calls to coaches, athletic directors and others to see if they or anyone they know would be interested in the opening. No money is discussed, no contracts, nothing. They just determine if there is interest.

    3) That list is whittled down to who is actually interested and they get their resumes. They begin the process of due diligence while they reach out to them or their people. After going through the list, they get their top list of likely candidates, they then formally bring them in to interview. Likely, due diligence is still ongoing. This is the stage that probably sees the biggest dropoff in candidates.

    4) Their candidates accept or reject these interviews. The list is narrowed.

    5) Folks interview.

    6) IU digs further into the due diligence process just to make sure they dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. They present their choice to the Trustees and IU Prez. Contracts are negotiated, then approved and said new coach is given the keys to the glorious Indiana Football program.

    If you can name me a single instance of a coach who was a “name hire” who made it to one or several BCS bowls, leave their program for something as beaten up as IU just for more money, I’m all ears. I’ve yet to see it.

    Every single instance of a bad program getting turned around was either by a coaching retread that fell out of favor or by a young up and coming, but unproven commodity. There are major risks with each path. That’s life at the bottom of the pecking order.

    I cannot think of any exceptions. I’d love for you to provide me one and I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    Lastly, your reading comprehension needs a little grease in the wheels. I never once said Kevin Wilson had Indiana on the path to greatness. I said quite firmly that his record is mixed, but that given the alternatives, was still the best option for the time being. Your fairy dust scenario of attracting a big name coach notwithstanding. My logic says your idea is silly and impossible.

  14. Fine FWHoosier, who do you propose Indiana hire in Wilson’s place? Who do you think would be interested in taking the head coaching job at IU? Money is no issue.

    Go.

  15. Double Down, great analysis, absolutely great. A agree with your considerations on both of your main points; first, where we are with the program and, second, the only two alternatives left in terms of coaching- staying with Kevin Wilson, given mixed results (still better than anything produced since the Mallory years) and the likelihood of replacing Wilson with any candidate who- within a four year span- could consistently deliver better performance.

    We are who we are, and that’s the inescapable truth. History will show that over the years Indiana starved the football program of investment, especially in coaches. I believe this still true. Wilson is the first coach to be paid over a million dollars per year- only Purdue matches that variable- at a time when coaching salaries in the B1G begin at near two million. So, for all of the talk about experienced coaches with winning histories, those criticizing your position are the same who write in to this blog and complained about ‘outrageous salaries’.

    I have made a lot of noise about Coach Wilson and my belief that we need to persevere and continue on the same course. I’m still there and hoping I’m right. I do understand the impatience but absolutely feel that when Wilson’s recruits reach the point of maturity- the team manned by sophomores, juniors and seniors in a three-deep lineup at each position- Wilson’s efforts will be rewarded. Your idea of looking at Wilson through the prism of ‘over and under’ is fine. I just hope enough fans support it.

    Yours is a great post DD. I hope enough people read it and think through all of it. I think it is the only way to overcome a history marked by the fact that we -all of us who allowed it to get to this point- don’t know how to win. Thanks for being brave enough to say it.

  16. I’ll give you boys a short synopsis of this years recruiting season. These happen to be QB’s; R. Town de-committed from the Tide for USC, B. Barnett left ND for the Tide, B. Wimbush waved adios to PSU and howdy to ND, and T. Stevens became a Nittany Mountain Lion. IU courted Stevens hard because he was in-state. But with the recruiting data bases built today I have all the confidence IU will fill that QB slot with someone “at least” as good as TS. I am also quite certain Booker is not the only talented RB/CB uncommitted in HS they have available in their data base.. Recruiting at IU is the last of my worries. Your hand wringing and shouts of lack of success are just as familiar in BB recruiting. I don’t know why you torture yourselves so needlessly.

  17. Double Down,

    Thanks for post, #12. I appreciate your rationale comments in the face of folks, once again, getting emotionally reactive and losing sight of the big picture. Emotional reactivity normally results in poor decision-making. And IU has a good track record of that when it comes to hiring and firing football coaches.

  18. DD,
    If I were the AD at IU there would be a plan. I can’t tell you who I would hire at this time but I would be looking. My point is, this is not going to get better. We have no QB now or for the future. Tevin will be gone for the NFL $$ and no one can blame him(he will be a stud). The defense has improved only marginally but as we saw with Rutgers the longer they are on the field the bigger the chance of the collapse. I wish I couls be more hopefull but I have seen this way too many times before.

  19. While the pessimism is justified, it is not helpful. The plain truth is that there is not one aspect of the FB program that is functioning at a B1G level…not one. Therefore, to think that a change in head coach alone is going to significantly alter the condition of this program is just not realistic. In fact, I submit that KW is one of the few attributes of this program that at least has some potential! So, to those who are calling for KW’s dismissal, you can resurrect Vince Lombardi if you want…it would make little difference. This is an institutional failure of epic proportions that has been going on unabated for many decades.

    Rather, as I’ve previously stated, this is a SALES problem. In business, nothing happens until something is sold. We need to start selling this program: selling it to recruits, to current players, coaches, students, alums, band members, cheerleaders, concessions people, fans, faculty and administrators. If I’ve left anyone out, it is an oversight on my part. The entire IU circle of influence needs to commit to the success of this program without which, it will continue to languish.

    So let CKW continue to work with the team and our AD needs to coordinate everything else and be held accountable. For example, it should be considered a failure if any blue chip athlete from Indiana plays anywhere but IU. That can’t happen any more. Similarly, if there is one empty seat in Memorial Stadium on game day, that is a failure and that cannot happen any longer. Every single undergraduate should attend at least one game and be in the student section for the entire game. Pregame and half time shows should be exciting and well rehearsed.

    If everyone associated with this program is held to personal accountability, we’ll be amazed at how quickly this thing will turn around.

  20. hey, i hear that coach Tim Beckman (University of Illinois football coach) will be available at the end of the year…Wasn’t he hired by the University of Illinois at the same time as Kevin Wilson??? i venture to say the University of Illinois program is in more disarray then Indiana University……i watch the University of Illinois continue to hire and fire coaches every three to four years just as Indiana University an their once proud program has taken a dump….Needless to say they have hire their share of big name coaches (Norv Turner, Mike White) and they have hire their share of MAC coaches….any University can continue to hire coaches every four year, but if Indiana gets lucky and hires the right coach that turns this program in a year or two…he would leave in a heart beat for bigger and better opportunities…..I feel that Kevin Wilson is a good coach that will turn this program around an stay at the program once success happens aka same as Northwestern coach (Pat Fitzgerald)!!! this year let the University of Illinois make the big splash and hire Bill Muschamp!!! Next year Indiana will have depth at every position for the first time in 6 to 7 years…The soph and jrs recruits of Kevin Wilson will be ready to take the field and exhibits whether he desires to stay or go!!

  21. A few comments on some of the things in DD’s post #12:
    1. “Going back to the hire, IU had limited choices” Wrong. IU had a lot of choices. It chose to hire Wilson in large part because of the budget and to minimize costs. Some group of IU administrators chose not to budget an above average compensation package and were therefore, automatically reduced the number of candidates for the job. Combining a losing program with a below average compensation package was perceived as a sh!& sandwich for most ambitious candidates. If you want to turn the program around, you have to invest in the most talented people available, and that costs money. A lot of money! Either IU chose not to make the investment, or it simply could not afford to make the investment. I believe they chose not to.
    2. “Indiana would NEVER EVER EVER EVER be able to hire a proven successful D1 coach no matter how much money they would throw at them.” Well, that’s just silly. I assure you, if IU offered a coach $3M per year or more, with a guaranteed 5-year contract, and gave him a budget that was competitive with other Big Ten programs, they’d had a whole bunch of proven head coaches applying for the job. Heck, if they’d had the opportunity to get Rich Rod, say for $3M per year, guaranteed for five years, he might have jumped at the chance to prove to Michigan that they made a mistake. Money talks and BS walks, and you get what you pay for. It’s not just the low salary IU offers, it’s the low overall football budget that turns these ambitious coaches off. Hep was a great example of a proven head coach that IU could and did hire. Nothing wrong with trying to duplicate that plan. To a head coach getting $350,000 a year to coach a mid-major program, getting $2 M or more to coach a Big Ten team is a HUGE promotion in one’s career.
    3. “This is easily the biggest reclamation project in the history of college football.” Talk about an exaggeration! It’s not even the biggest reclamation project in IU Athletics history. Crean inherited a far more severe reclamation project with IU Basketball. And I’m guessing the fans of Marshall Football would vigorously disagree with you. That embellishment does not advance your argument.
    4. “Recruits and talented coaches don’t like looking up and looking at Limestone.” That’s the most accurate thing you wrote in your post, and I agree completely with your argument about lack of fan support. But I know a lot of Hoosier fans, and I’ve spoken to them about attending IU football games. Almost all of those who have stopped attending games say the same thing, “There’s no reason to drive down (or up) to Bloomington to watch the game because “they’re terrible,” “I know they’re going to lose,” “they suck,” “it’s depressing,” “I’ve got better things to do with my time,” and “when the team gives me a reason to attend, I’ll be happy to start going to the games again.” But we have arrived at the old “chicken or egg” debate again. Does lack of fan support reduce IU’s chance of having a winning season (yes), or does lack of a winning team suppress fan support (also yes)? I’ll tell you one thing for sure, the size of the American flag and Memorial Stadium’s paved parking lot has no impact on fans’ decision to attend the games in Bloomington.
    5. “I’m pulling for Wilson not because I particularly love the guy, but because right now, he’s really still the best hope to get to 6 wins. The alternative of hiring another untested coach or some retread, in my view, is a far riskier proposition that will set us back another 5 years before we can even evaluate whether he is the right guy for the job or not.” Well, I agree with your conclusion, but your rationale is a straw-man argument. We need to keep Wilson for at least another year because a) it’s the best chance IU has to win six in 2015. Next year’s squad will be stronger and more talented than this year’s team, b) the IU trustees don’t want to write a $1.5 M check to buy-out Wilson’s contract because there is no immediate upside to doing so, and no downside to not doing so, and c) Wilson does get a pass because of some very unusual circumstances this year, including the departure of Tre, the injuries to Sudfeld and Covington, and brand new O and D Coordinators assimilating into the program. But you touched on a key phrase when you wrote “another untested coach.” That’s the key. No matter how the Wilson era turns out, IU should never, ever, ever hire another unproven coach to be IU’s head coach. IU made the right call with Hep and IU should return to that plan the next time it needs to hire a head coach. Just look at Minnesota’s progress under Jerry Kill, who was hired the same day Wilson was hired. Kill had proven himself as a successful head coach at Saginaw Valley State before he was hired by Minnesota and obviously viewed that job (and compensation package) as a major advancement in is career. It’s not rocket science!

  22. HClarion, on #19 you are exactly right. The big attraction about T. Stevens is that he’s all Hoosier, raised just blocks from the road to Bloomington. We used to have a RB named Tom Warriner- played for JPont, whose garage drive opened right into SR 67, practically same neighborhood. Coaches used to stop off for coffee on the way to the airport. So the big pain comes from a Decatur Central kid who wants to leave his state and play for a rival. Good luck to him. Surely he won’t settle in this area…as the saying goes, ‘loving is so short and forgetting takes so long’.

    While QB was a headache position since Roberson turned is back on his state, its also likely that the qb in 2015, 2016 and 2017 is already on campus. Covington obviously has talent, as KW has made clear; Zander has shown both talent and grit, one can hope Cameron shows equally well; so there was no reason to assume the job was Stevens’, just a lot of hype about a local boy who turned his back on his. It would have been great to watch him develop under Wilson’s tutelage. If we’ve been shown anything by Wilson is that best man plays.

    There not even a reason to be mad at Stevens. Just disappointed he didn’t understand he would be representing the state that gave him so much. I’m sure there will be a chance for him to remember how much he missed in not playing for his folk. Go Hoosiers.

  23. PO- re: your comment 2 in post 25. Agree that big bucks (both salary and FB budget) would lure a Rodriguez caliber coach to IU, but disagree that IU simply chose not to spend the necessary money. I think IU just doesn’t have it. If IU was being cheap, then so was Illinois, which paid about the same for Beckman as IU did for KW. The biggest factor in $$$ available for sports programs is booster $$$, and IU just does not have the booster support to pay the 3 million (and linked assistant salaries) you suggested. I will note that PU is paying Hazell 2.3m and Minn. is paying Kill 2.1m, but these hires were after KW and the Big Ten network cashflow projections probably looked a little more stable/robust than a few years before, but only Hoke, Meyer, Dantonio, and Pellini are earning 3m. I’d be tickled for IU to compete for these type coaches, but I just don’t think its in the bank account.

  24. OK. Let’s keep Coach Wilson another year but make some changes in some other areas.

    1. Concessions

    Pass a ordinance to sell alcohol at the games.

    Wine $6.50
    Mixed Drinks $6.25
    Beer $6.00

    It would ease the pain and generate extra revenue to hire a top notch coach.

  25. Since the “Just Win” campaign didn’t work out too well maybe next year we could go with “Polish The Turd.”

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