Hoosiers add to 2018 class on 2nd signing day

The first Wednesday in February used to be filled with all of the pomp and circumstance the college football offseason had to offer.

Not anymore.

With schools nationwide assembling the bulk of their recruiting classes in time for the new 72-hour early signing period in December, little drama has been left for the traditional National Signing Day in February. That was largely the case Wednesday, as schools simply sought to put the finishing touches on recruiting classes rather than signing players in droves.

At Indiana, coach Tom Allen inked 23 players on the first day of the new early signing period on Dec. 20, saving a few additional scholarships for February.

Here’s who the Hoosiers inked on Wednesday (will be updated as signings become official):

Jamar Johnson, DB, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Riverview HS, Sarasota, Fla.
As his team’s most valuable player, captain and a first team all-area selection, Johnson helped Riverview to an 11-2 mark in 2017 and back-to-back district titles. Johnson made 62 tackles, six for loss, and one sack during his senior campaign, while recording six interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He also forced three and recovered two fumbles. Considered the No. 88 cornerback nationally by 247 Sports, Johnson played in the Florida North/South All-Star Classic.

Allen on Johnson: “He’s a young man that will play in the secondary, but I think he has the skill set to play corner. He can play either one of our high safety positions, he can play our Husky position and it’s really hard to find a guy like that who can do all those things. He’s just a really, really physical young man and really athletic. He returns punts and kicks and those are the kinds of guys you want. He plays receiver and had the ball in his hands in high school. You want those kinds of guys. Really excited about Jamar joining our family.”

James Miller, LB, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Armwood HS, Brandon, Fla.
With the signings of Miller and quarterback Michael Penix, Indiana has signed the Tampa Bay Times’ Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. Miller, who selected IU over Florida State, also earned Hillsborough County Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as an all-state selection. He posted 164 tackles, 114 solo, 44 for loss, 11 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, nine forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and seven pass breakups as a senior. Miller also returned two fumbles for touchdowns and recorded one safety, while blocking five punts and two field goals. Miller is considered the No. 33 inside linebacker in the country by 247 Sports.

Allen on Miller: “Really physical football player. Big linebacker, which is what we were looking for. (He’s) 6-foot-2, 220, and has a big frame on him. He can run. He’s a sideline-to-sideline type of linebacker, which is really what you want. As the game has become a spread game, you gotta have those kinds of guys in the middle. He can play either of the linebacker positions that we have, or really all three of them when we get into our 4-3 package. (He has) versatility, No. 1. He’ll be able to run the defense. Awesome young man, comes from a great family and a guy that just makes us flat-out better.”

Jonathan King, DL, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Tampa Bay Tech, Tampa, Fla.
A high school teammate of quarterback Michael Penix, King earned all-county honors after making 60 tackles with 5.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. He closed his career with 20.5 sacks, 44 TFLs, 29 hurries, six fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, four forced fumbles and two blocked field goals. Considered the No. 42 weakside defensive end in the nation and the No. 111 overall prospect in Florida, King chose between IU and Middle Tennessee State. He also held offers from Florida and Maryland.

Allen on King: “For us, physicality is number one and Jonathan’s a really tough, hard-nosed young man. He can rush the passer, which is a key point for our ends, but you have to stop the run in this league and he can do that as well. Jonathan plays really, really hard. He’s a kid that loves the weight room, loves to play the game, and he has a teammate already here. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our program.”


  1. Very heavy defensive class, not enough wide receiver, offensive lineman and quarterback. I foresee a struggling offensive for the next couple of years.

    1. 79,
      I am share your concerns on offense, but I suspect this recruiting class is not yet complete. May see some JUCOs yet to come. What I do find interesting is the continued mining of Florida by Allen and Company. I am looking to see how they are able to pull from across the south. If you know the region you will also know there is a lot of NFL bound talent being plucked up by smaller schools after the elite programs have filled their rosters. If IU could capitalize on these hidden gems, it could become interesting.

      Would be interested to know if any of the other B1G schools are mining the south at the same level as IU.

    2. No way! Offense will be fine. Penix will push Ramsey for the QB job. I’ve seen them both play in person and Penix definitely has the better tools. Yes it was HS competition that I saw Penix play against but it was against Tampa kids.

      At RB I like Ellison as much as any RB we’ve ever had. Gest started to come on late and I think he takes another step forward this year. I don’t know a lot about incoming FR Ronnie Walker but everything I’ve read is positive.

      At WR I think the return of Westbrook is nearly a wash for the departure of Cobbs. I think if Hale can stay healthy, he’ll can have an All-B1G type of season. Timian has been a solid slot guy and Philyor came on down the stretch.

      TE may be a concern. Not that we use the TE a ton on passing plays but it will be the most inexperienced group on offense.

      The O-Line returns everyone and will be a strength this season.

      Offensive Coordinator is my biggest concern. I think Sandford should have been shown the door. I hated the hire and I hate the results.

    1. Today’s Edition of Interesting Stats:

      1960-2017 All NFL Draftees
      OSU 338
      Indiana 111

      1960-2017 First Round Draftees
      OSU 80
      Indiana 13

      1990-2017 First Round Draftees
      OSU 41
      Indiana 2

      Let’s never try to compare Indiana Football to Indiana Basketball. Building the former is scaling Denali. Building it in a conference division containing OSU, Michigan, MSU, and Penn State is scaling it with one leg.
      IU Hoops requires five ballers in a basketball rich state. End of story.

  2. It depends on what was recruited last as far as wideout goes good lord you people are always predicting doom and gloom.lol

  3. This class is based on evening out the roster with very good players. IU took players at every position group. The concern about offense ignores the youth of IU’s offense last year. We have 9 of 11 coming back with Westbrook being added to the WR class. We now have good QBs in three straight classes with Reese as another possibility; this class brings in nationally ranked QB and RB.

    The three players signed today were players IU went hard on and beat out some SEC schools for Miller. King was also visiting Maryland but chose IU. Johnson is a big hitter with good range who should fit in with our defense. This was a very good first recruiting class for this staff and I hope is the beginning of even better classes in the future.

  4. According to espn; Though I don’t think there is much difference between 8 through 12 in recruiting classes, IU ranks 12 ahead of Illinois and Rutgers. That means Purdue ranks ahead of IU recruiting class. Plus IU will have several new players due to graduation etc. I don’t think it is a bad thing because hardly any of them were good enough to be irreplaceable and the new faces are welcome hopefully a little better than those departed. However, based on what is returning compared to other schools and #12 recruiting class in big ten according to espn I look for IU fb tradition to continue struggling to win 6 or more games. Actually, struggling very much to win 6 plus games and a couple teams on pre big ten schedule that are at lower levels of competition may enable IU fb to when 4 or 5 again. It would be great to be optimistic but tradition /history says otherwise and the present has given not much optimism except that I am wrong.

  5. ESPN doesn’t have the greatest extended arms following recruiting. Their “grassroots” reporting wasn’t great in the past, but really gutted with the recent purges.

    Scout and 247 tend to have the better evaluation services. Especially for football. They have Indiana 10th and ahead of Purdue.


    These are weighted rankings based on arbitrary criteria of kids who are still growing, getting strong, faster, etc. With that being said, I’d say the difference between those ranked 6 – 12 isn’t that great. Maybe even 5. Despite these arbitrary numbers which all schools are subjected too, there is a lot more talent finding their way to Bloomington next year than I’ve seen in a long time. I’m excited to see what Allen does with it.

  6. It’s dubious to claim that IU’s 2018 recruiting class is the best its been in years and is in the top 45 in the country but is ranked only 12th in the Big Ten. That makes no sense. So while I’m not happy about news that continues to rank IU’s recruiting classes near the bottom of the conference, I just don’t trust these so called experts. I think they’re lazy and simply publish a bunch of garbage.

    The number of kids Allen is signing from Florida and other southern states reinforces the hypothesis that it is easier for IU to get high quality players from distant states than it is to get quality players from Indiana or neighboring states. Kids in Florida have not been brainwashed from birth to believe that IU Football has been, is and always will be a losing program. They don’t know that many residents of the state think IU Football is and always will be a joke. These kids from Florida see IU Football in relative terms, which is a better opportunity to develop, player sooner rather than later, and get the much valued recognition that eludes them if they’re sitting on the bench behind three 5-star recruits at an SEC or top ACC program. And since the football competition in states like Florida is more intense, I’ll bet a lot of 3-star Florida players would be four star players if they’d played High School football in a small state like Indiana.

    I hope Allen does not begin to receive criticism about not recruiting in-state kids. What choice does he have but to go where the best available talent is located?

    1. Having lived there I believe that, for most of these young men, Indiana falls into that group of states otherwise known as ‘not Florida’.

    2. The ACC has produced a few good teams recently but, top to bottom, they lag behind both the B1G and the SEC.

      1. “in the top 45 in the country but is ranked only 12th in the Big Ten. That makes no sense.” Precisely what I wrote a while back (which proves PO’s genius), that the B1G must have found out how to hypnotize American youth to the detriment of all the other conferences . These writers are in an echo chamber, if you will, reading what each other wrote about the same recruits and then trying to reveal some “keen insight” that makes saps want to but ’em drinks at the local watering hole.

  7. The overall census is that this current IU recruiting class is one of best recruiting classes in decades. Even as the best recruiting class in decades, it is still the sixth (6th) ranked recruiting class in the Big Ten East division. Now it all depends on how well this coaching staff, can develop this talent??? From the current IU players that are in the NFL and being invited to the NFL combine, the previous coaching staff had a way of developing players. As the old saying goes “what have you done for me lately” ??? It is time for this coaching staff to put its brand label on the current IU program. It has only taken Jeff Brohm one year to give Purdue fans hope and belief. It is truly amazing what Scott Frost (has not even coach a game in the BIG TEN yet or at Nebraska) has done at Nebraska (a top 25 recruiting class (while still coaching at Central Florida) and a complete SELL-OUT (85000 fans) of the spring football game. PJ Fleck at Minnesota (42nd recruiting class) and Lovie Smith (cleaned house – got rid/transferred of 15-20 players) at Illinois (49th recruiting class) are starting to turn their respected programs around. Maryland has had two exceptional recruiting (back to back) classes and have hire former IU offensive cord Matt Canada. Every football program in the Big Ten looks like they are improving (even IU to a degree), but does that still leave IU football in sixth (6) or seventh (7) place in the Big Ten.

  8. Chet, I think you’re correct about the ACC compared to the Big Ten, but when you consider Florida State and Clemson, both having won National Championships recently, which tends to cast a bright lite on the entire conference, there’s probably very little space between the Big Ten and the ACC in football. IU split two games with Wake Forest and lost to Duke in a bowl game over the last three years. Duke was considered to be in the middle of the ACC pack at the time, and Wake was in re-building mode. It would be fun if the two conferences created the Big Ten/ACC Football Challenge like they do in basketball every year. IU would probably get matched up against Duke, Wake Forest or NCS.

    1. “Big Ten/ACC Football Challenge” an excellent idea! Quasi-schedule pseudo-ACC team Notre Dame now!

  9. Comment after comment always talks about IU player development (example: making 3 star recruits into 4 star caliber players). Other coaches etc in their respective programs plan to develop their players also and have programs and strategies in place to do so. So overall is it pretty much a wash?

  10. IU79, you ask a good question. Yes, we can all take hope from saying that IU is improving, but it’s all relative. IS IU football improving enough to produce a winning season or to “break through” as Allen aspires to.. As t wrote above, every team develops their talent. My guess is that it’s easier to develop talent to perform at a higher level if you have more competition on the team and have to practice against better teammates. And it’s easier to develop naturally bigger, stronger, faster athletes than it is to develop smaller, weaker and slower athletes. I’ve said for years that IU has improved it’s starting talent, but when one of them went down, their replacement was often an inadequate replacement. Depth is the key. Having three players deep at each position with little difference between their size, speed and abilities is what Allen needs to build. I think he’s off to a good start, because we’re no longer reading, as we used to not so long ago, that IU signed a bunch of players whose only other offers came from mid-major or FCS programs.

    1. Recruiting frequently remains a mystery to me.

      I coached a kid a while back. He was a DE . Went about 6’4″ and around 210-215lbs. Quick, agile, not as strong as we would have liked. We had as good a strength and conditioning program as there was in the state so we had done what we could. By the time our kids were seniors they often looked like men among boys but not all if them. I didn’t know if this kid could play in college or not.

      Then Notre Dame asked for some game film on him.

      Long story short. Three years later he was about 6’6″, 255lbs and starting for the Irish.

      I have reconciled that what I see with my own eyes may be far removed from the college player one might become. These guys have to be fortune tellers.

      1. Chet- your player’s DNA may have programmed him to be a late bloomer. Swabbing recruits’ spit may be the next thing in recruiting.

  11. Chet, I had a team mate in High School that had a similar story. Big tall kid (6’7″) who graduated HS at 225 lbs. He was our left tackle on the O-line. Worked out like a crazy man, but had difficulty gaining weight. He was a solid player and never a liability, but he was probably the least effective O-lineman we had. Didn’t even make All Conference. We never thought he’d get a scholarship to a D-1 team, let alone start for three years at Iowa State and be selected as first team All Conference for the Big Eight in both his Junior and Senior seasons. I met him over the Christmas holiday when we were both sophomores in college and he was 6’8″ and weighed 285 lbs. at the time. I all out didn’t recognize him! He played his senior season at 300 lbs. And back in 1981, that was a HUGE college offensive linemen. College recruiters tend to notice potential that most of us fans can’t recognize. I think their first clue was that my friend’s father was 6’9″ and had played center for Georgetown’s basketball team.

    1. The fact that football binds you to a college for three years during such a developmental period has turned recruiting into a developmental crapshoot for a lot of players

  12. About fifteen years post-college I worked with a fireman who was of slightly-sturdier than average build, six feet tall or maybe 6’1″. One day several of us getting ready to haul a very heavy piece of equipment up a flight of stairs and Rich picked the thing up at the handle with one arm and walked it right up by himself. Later someone one told me that he had played at Iowa. Never would have guessed it from the guy’s build. I checked it out and indeed he had been an OL starter at Iowa in the late ’70s (which was when I was at IU). Later we talked about it and he said that he had really worked to reduce his playing weight after he left college ’cause he knew teammates who hadn’t and they just became Abe Gibron-like blobs. But obviously the strength was still there.

  13. Wow…Abe Gibron. Hadn’t heard that name in a ton of years. Bears coach? Extremely large belly? Bald? Was that the Bob Avellini years? Damn ..Throwback. That’s like a Twilight Zone lateral.

  14. Just missed it….Bobby Douglass years.

    Still surprised that I remembered Abe Gibron…I was quite the youngest of tyke then.

  15. Recruiting is a crap shoot which is why even big time recruits don’t always work out while the Russel Wilson’s become star players and move on to the NFL and star. Kids can chang so much over the four years out of high school and you can’t always know which ones would grow. I went into the Marines as a 6’2 150 lb recruit that couldn’t gain weight but by the time I left I went from wearing a size 36 jacket to wearing a size 50 jacket and weighing 220 lbs; by the way my dad and mom were 5’7″. With today’s nutrition and strength training a player with the right genetics can make tremendous strides. No coaching staff bats 100% in recruits but the higher rated recruits pan out at a higher %. There is one other factor though that can even the odds, getting players in that fit your system which is what WS and NW do.

    The 2018 class has the potential to be a special group and based on who they brought in they are players from slolid backgrounds that know how to work hard. Many are also players that want to prove to the bigger programs they are as good as the higher rated players. IU over the past 5-7 years has had some top players but not enough better players to go with them. The roster is now starting to get those better players to go with players that develop into top players.

  16. v13, thank you for your service. My Dad graduated HS at 5’9″ and 135 lbs. He enlisted in the Army in May of 1944, made it through basic, then airborne school and combat with the 82nd Airborne Division. He led the service in 1946 at 5’9″ and 160 lbs. 55 years later he could still fit into his dress uniform and still weighed 160 lbs. I had a HS teammate that was two years older than I was. He played guard on the O-line. He joined the marines in 1974 right out of High School. He came back for our 1976 homecoming and I did not recognize him when he stood right in front of me. He had lost about 70 lbs. and looked like the men on the marine recruiting posters. I’ll never forget what he told me that day. He said, “the hardest day of triple sessions in football would be an easy day in Marine boot camp.” He was totally serious.

  17. davis, I ran into that same former teammate at my ten-year HS reunion. He had dropped from 300 lbs. (his playing weight) to 240 lbs. in five years by taking up running. He looked really skinny. He was very proud of having just completed his first full marathon. When someone asked him, “why the hell would you run a marathon?,” he responded, “because I don’t want to die at the age of 38 weighing 400 lbs.!”

  18. Podunker, your dad serve at a tough time in History and belonged to a decorated unit. I had an uncle that was in the war in Europe and although he didn’t talk much about his experience just knowing were his unit was said a lot. Men like your dad and my uncle saw horrible things but came home and raised good families; our country was better for the kind of men they were.

    Your former roommate was a smart man as too many OL and DL men continued to eat like they did when training and playing ballooning up in weight and destroying their healthy. It took real dtermination to make the change he made in his life.

    1. I have noticed a great many wrestlers become obese once they are no longer competing (and rigidly watching their weight). We never tolerated ‘cutting weight’ for our kids. They don’t have weight ussues as adults.

      We all still compete in once ‘sport’ or another, as well. I guess some of us never outgrow that. I can’t beat up my body the way I used to but I still enjoy the ‘juice’ of competition.

      It’s interesting to me how so many highly competitive people just stop once their designated sport ‘ends’.

  19. Chet, I hate wrestling teams that have kids cut weight as they are still growing and doing without necessary nutrients at that age is bad for their bodies. It is good you didn’t let your kids follow this strategy. I coached wrestling for a few years and saw kids on other teams weigh in and then eat enough to gain ten pounds in two days. .

    It is important for athletes to understand diet and activities besides their sport so when they stop competing they have the knowledge to structure their lives not to gain large amounts of weight.

    1. It is so stupid. My kids would go out at their normal weight, well hydrated, and tons of glycogen in their muscles just waiting to go to work.

      Then some poor emaciated kid who should have weighed 15-20 pounds more and it was a sorry thing to watch. The well nourished kids didn’t lose much.

      At least they now address it as best as they can. It was like back in the day. They weigh in kids prior to the start of the season and they can o ly go down one weight. They measure hydration.

      But still, young athletes should be able to eat everything their body wants that won’t harm them .

  20. v13, long story short, my father NEVER spoke about his time in the service. Four days after his death, while going through his filing cabinet (as executor of his estate), I came across an old yellowed file folder in the back of the lowest drawer. Inside it were various documents and his service record. On the back of that document, under the section titled “Commendations,” I learned that my father had been awarded two Bronze Stars. A little later I found the actual medals inside a crumbling shoe box. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I thought I knew my Dad as well as any son could know a father. I’ve never been so stunned and surprised by anything in my life, before or since. I showed his service record and the medals to my Mom (they had been married 50 years) and discovered that she had no idea what they were or that my Dad had ever received any medals from his time the service. She simply said, “your father just never spoke about his time in the service. Not ever. That was typical of the men who were in the war.” I studied the dates pertaining to his medals, did the math and started crying like a baby when I realized that whatever he had done to earn them, he had done it before his 19th birthday. A few years later a friend gave me the book “The Flags of Our Fathers.” I made the mistake of reading it while on a cross-country flight. The author describes a similar discovery about his father shortly after his father had died, and all the things that began to make sense about his father and their relationship as the author grew from a boy into manhood. I just lost it. If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to do so. Men like your uncle and my father were a part of “the greatest generation.” And again v, thank you for your service!

  21. PO. My father predeceased his younger sister, and after she had died we found a newspaper (So. Bend Tribune) clipping reporting that my dad had been court-martialed for unintentionally wounding a civilian during the Koeran war. Finding of not guilty. He had told us that story, but never about the court-martial. Although my did talk somewhat about the war in Korea, it was mostly about how desperately poor the S. Korean people were, and what they had to do to survive. And how cruel some of the American servicemen could be for no apparent reason other than they had the power to act that way.

    1. Today South Korea has, I believe, the 7th largest economy on the world. They are an amazingly resilient people.

      1. …and they embraced and have taken full opportunity of USA supporting resources mirroring the model of Europe after 1945…

  22. davis, the people, men and women, that came out of combat faced horrific situations and some took advantge of the S.Koreans. It had to be a hard thing to go through a court martial not knowing how the military judges would rule. I am glad your father was found not guilty.

    Podunker, my uncle wouldn’t talk about his experience either but the family knew his unit freed the death camps. I was a history buff as a teen but couldn’t get anything from him about what he had seen. I feel for the troops today operating in areas were the populations practice unbelievable atrocities against anyone opposed to them. One thing not known is how hard it was for WWII vets to fit back in with society after dealing with reacting in a violent way to survive. Society was more forgiving and the vets adjusted and did more great things back home. Most adjusted by pushing down memories from the war as they separated their time in combat from life back in the USA.

    Most don’t understand the societal turmoil the 20’s and 30’s brought to America. WWII brought back men and women that saw tough things and were determined to create structure in their lives to avoid the chaos they saw in war. I wish everyone appreciated and treated everyone coming from combat as the survivors they are with a unique perspective that benefits our society. “The Flgs of Our Father” is an excellent book and I wish more would read it.

  23. v13, I think the biggest difference between today’s military vets and the men like my father and your uncle has to do with the percentage of the population who served back then compared to the percentage of the US population who serve today. According to the New York Times, less than 0.5% of today’s US population serves in the military. Back during WWII, more than 12% of the US population served. Today, a citizen may not know anyone who serves in the military. But in 1944 or 1945, everyone in the country knew someone who was serving, and chances were that they had immediate family members serving. Today, we are in anguish (and rightfully so) whenever we learn that another member of the US Military has died in combat. Over the last 16 years in Afghanistan, about 2,400 U.S. military have died in there. During WWII, the U.S. lost more people than that in one day! For example, according to the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation, 2,499 US Service men died on June 6, 1944 during the Normandy invasion (D-Day). Obviously, that number does not include the US K.I.A. suffered on that same day in the other parts of the war (i.e., South Pacific, Italy, etc).

    1. By the same token, the troops in Vietnam served their one tour and, usually, that was it. Now, with stop-loss policies, there are guys approaching 40 who have been cycling through combat theaters since high school.

      During my time in the service no one would have been allowed 4 tours in a combat theater except under special circumstances. There are currently at least 50,000 troops who have served at least 4 tours.

      You don’t shower that stuff off.

  24. No you don’t, Chet. v13, my dad was what was known as a REMF (rear-echelon m—–f—–). Never saw any combat. When the UN and the Communists drew the 38th parallel north as a truce line, SKorean dictator Sygnman Rhee was enraged and emptied all the ROK P.O.W. camps in protest.
    My father was alone guarding a motorpool that night, well behind the lines, when a rioting mob of sprung P.O.W.s began tearing down the perimeter fence. My dad feared for his life, but knew the rioters were unarmed, so he fired into the ground on his side of the fence. One of his bullets ricocheted and hit a fifteen-year-old girl in the leg. He said that he felt awful about hurting that girl (“Why didn’t I shoot over their heads?”), and took candy to her in the hospital. His fellow REMFs mocked him for it.
    According to the article, his standing orders were not to fire his weapon unless by direct order, hence the court-martial. His lawyer’s defense was that it was nonsensical to give a soldier a loaded weapon, tell him to guard a U.S. military installation, and then haul him up on charges when he actually defended it. But none of the abuses of SKorean civilians that he saw and remembered ever had anything to do with combat.

  25. davis, despite your dad being a REMF I am still glad his lawyer could get the military judges to see the problem with his orders and that he wasn’t trying to shoot any of them. Thanks for the memory as I had forgotten about the term REMF which was used often in the Marines. I didn’t serve in any combat but got a real education working with defense intelligence agency. It was like reading top secret newspapers and dealing with front line issues around the world. I had many friends in the Marines that served in Vietnam and appreciate what others go through coming back home.

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