Transcript: IU coach breaks down members of 2018 class

Indiana coach Tom Allen spoke with reporters on Wednesday about the first 23 signees of IU’s 2018 recruiting class.

His remarks on individual players follow:

“Had a really strong amount of talent that we are graduating on defense. So we had to really address that side of the football. Up front, really excited about the young men that we added, James Head, Shamar Jones, Gavin McCabe, and Madison Norris on the defensive line.

“Madison Norris being an instate athlete from Hamilton Southeastern High School, an elite track athlete. I predict he will possibly win the state 100-meter high hurdles this year and probably would have last year but got a late injury in the tournament and wasn’t able to do that. But really, really fast, long athlete that has a great family and is excited to be a part of us. I’m really excited about him being an instate guy.

“And James Head from the state of Florida is a guy we really spent a lot of time investing into and allowed him to come up here and realize his dream.

Also graduated some linebackers, so excited to add Aaron Casey, Cam Jones, and Micah McFadden to our team. Guys with athleticism, a couple of guys there — actually, all three of them from the South and guys that we really believe in.

“At safety, Jordan Jusevitch, a young man that was a finalist for Mr. Football. He was our first, I guess you could say, verbal commit, as they call it, a year ago about this time. Had him in camp and loved him and just a really good football player. Plays all different kind of positions on his high school football team, led them to the state championship game, and he’s a young man that I believe is going to develop and really be a special player and person for us.

“Devon, AKA Monster. He goes by Monster, which is his nickname. Mom even calls him that, which is sometimes unusual for a nickname. A great football player there that I think has a tremendous ceiling. Devon Matthews is his name. Noah Pierre as well from the state of Florida, guys that athletically give us a pop and a burst that we’re looking for back there.

“Cornerbacks, Elijah Rodgers and Jaylin Williams are quality, quality young men. Jaylin is a tremendously gifted player with high class speed, can play both sides of the ball, but he’s going to play corner. Same with Elijah. He was a high school cornerback, and he’s going to play corner.

“Athletically, we’ve got two guys in that category, Reese Taylor and Stevie Scott. We all know who Reese Taylor is in this part of the country, Mr. Football, led the Ben Davis Giants to an undefeated season and state championship, nationally ranked program. I feel like he is just an elite athlete. Really see that he will be a young man that has a lot of versatility, quarterback skills, receiver skills, DB skills, return skills, all those kinds of things. Extremely quick and fast. As we’ve said, the character piece is what I care a lot about, and he’s a really, really fine young man with strong grades.

“Stevie Scott, big young man, 6-2”, 235 pounds, can play running back, plays linebacker, and we’ll be fighting for him on both sides of the ball. We’re glad he’s on our team. Gives us tremendous special teams value as well.

“Kicker Charles Campbell, I want to highlight him. All-American from the state of Tennessee. Big need for us, but he’s going to have to come and compete. I told him that from the very beginning. We’ve got quality kickers here on campus that want the same job that he wants. He’s a guy that we went out and got out of high school, and he’ll be kicking in the U.S. Army All-American game. Really excited about his skill set that he brings to our program.

“O-line wise, we had a young O-line issue. Didn’t have any seniors, but we were able to add a couple to that group. We didn’t have a lot of numbers. So we went ahead and added Nick Marozas and Aidan Rafferty. Nick from Illinois, Aidan from the D.C. area. So long athletes that are going to develop, really, really tough guys that I think are going to be really good players for us as they come in our program and work extremely hard.

“Tight end, big need for us, Matt Bjorson and T.J. Ivy. We had to address losing a couple there to graduation. So excited about their toughness and athleticism. Matt is very versatile. T.J. is a long athlete that I think is really going to develop into a fine player.

“Running back, really strong need for us in terms of the burst and speed we’re looking for. Ronnie Walker, very excited about him, going to be a midyear guy, as well as Jacolby Hewitt, Mike Penix, and James Head. All four of those guys will be midyear enrollees, which is huge for them to be able to get here and start with us in early January. Ronnie led his team to a state championship this past couple weeks ago, and really, I think, a tremendously talented player, strong, fast, great balance, great vision, and really used to running our system.

“Receiver Jacolby Hewitt, Miles Marshall. Jacolby is tremendously fast, also good size to him, thick, and Miles has got length, 6’4” receiver, caught a ton of balls there in a very, very good league coming out of the Atlanta area in Parkview High School in Georgia.

“And then Mike Penix, quarterback, the most recent commitment here, signee that joined us here in his announcement about 1:00 this afternoon. Tremendously excited about him. 6’2″, 6’3” range, 200 pounds. Love his length and athleticism. He’s listed as a pro style quarterback on paper, but that’s not what he is. He’s a dual guy. Really, really gifted athlete. Really good basketball player, could run and jump extremely well and has those qualities. He’s going to come here and compete, and he’ll be a midyear guy, as I mentioned. Excited about his leadership and character. Really stuck out to me in this process. Our staff knew him before because of prior relationships and other places we’ve been. So really excited about him and what he brings to our crew.

“So we have 23 members of the class at this point. It will grow as we move forward, but really excited about these young men and what they bring to our program.”

11 comments

  1. Overall, a pretty decent class with some really good athletes. Penix was a great get in the last week or so and has major potential. The coaching staff did a great job convincing him to come to IU over Florida State, and being an early enrollee, he will be competing for playing time in the fall.
    What really impresses me is that all 21 of the commitments IU had ended up signing today and that none of them defected at the last minute. That tells me they believe in what coach Allen is preaching/selling and they really want to be a part of the program.

  2. Or it tells us that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Early signing day is a huge benefit to schools like IU. Good for Allen and staff for taking full advantage of it.

  3. This class is loaded with hard workers with talent. Randy Charlton just change his commit to IU and they are waiting for his NIL. This class ranks #32 in the country but is 6th in the B1G East. IU is in a tough division but enough classes like this and they will have a roster that can get the job done. We all know if IU is ever to get to a championship level the level of recruits has to improve but as Wisc, Iowa, and NW show IU can win with classes like this one.

  4. Agree Po. This early signing period is just what teams like IU need.

    Now let’s see if they can get Randy Charlton to sign on the dotted line. if he signs today or tomorrow, he would be a great 24th member of this class. If he defers signing until February, I doubt we get him.

    He originally committed to USF at the same school press conference where his teammate already had an IU hat on his head, then apparently changed his mind a short time later. USF already has 16 signed LOI’s and another 12 commits. Even though Charlton committed to them yesterday, he is not listed for them on 247, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  5. Oops, that should have been Florida International, not USF. FIU has 16 signees, and 3 commits listed, but no Randy Charlton. Let’s hope that letter comes in soon.

    V – What are your thoughts on Penix’s arm strength? I watched a little video and thought he has a pretty strong arm. Definitely looked stronger than Ramsey’s in my opinion.

    Disappointed Mack is transferring to Pitt. Sure smells like tampering by the two former Wilson assistants.

  6. Pitt’s freshman QB looks as good as anyone I’ve seen this year. Yes, I’m sure they manipulated his (Mack’s) decision.
    IU will be a 7-9 win club when guys like Markese Stepp aren’t lured away by former coaches, but who could blame him? This coaching staff did a better job than I thought they would. Still, possibly the only BT team without a 4*. That has to change if there’s a “breakthrough”. Right now, just treading water.

  7. Very surprise, a very good recruiting class….solid 3* recruits….but like coach Tom Allen said it all depends on how these recruits develop and improve over the next few years, with this coaching staff.

  8. Ranger67, I haven’t seen enough of Penix to know how strong his arm is but reports from different regional camps is he has a strong arm; I know he is fast as he ran 200m in 22.6 seconds. The film I saw is he was accurate and when he ran, he out ran players. I still question how he will be against B1G defenses when running but he and Reese will challenge defenses when running. IU will have a young and I think a very good QB room for next year. Does IU have top QBs in the nation, no but QBs that know how to protect the ball and lead a team.

    1. We are unlikely to see a Cam Newton show up in Bloomington in our lifetime. IU will live and die with a Penix, a Reese, or a Tronti.

      That’s okay. Unless you are an Alabama, Clemson, etc., that’s the same bucket everyone else is drawing from. Michigan was certainly no better at quarterback than Indiana. Maybe worse.

      I like the chances of one of those guys rising to the top. Excluding the rarity of a Randle El showing up on campus this is as good a potential crop as we have had in a while.

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