Hoosiers land 1st 2019 commit in 3-star receiver

Tom Allen is laying the foundation for his 2019 recruiting class on offense.

Indiana landed a verbal pledge from three-star North Carolina receiver Emery Simmons on Sunday, the first player to commit to next year’s class at IU.

The Hoosiers offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect a scholarship this past fall. Simmons also has an offer from East Carolina, along with interest from Duke, North Carolina State and Louisville.

He caught 55 passes for 997 yards with 14 touchdowns as a junior last season.

25 comments

  1. More southern cooking? Hopefully he will be able to hold the commit, long time until December.

  2. This kid likes the atmosphere with IUFB after visiting and seeing practice. He has great hands, it is just a highlite tape I know but it shows several one handed catches, and goes up to fight defenders for the ball taking it away from them. I also like his blocking as he is physical and aggressive; wanting to block goes a long way in getting the block made and this WR shows the want to. IU is suppose to want three to four WR in this class to replace the graduating WR from the 2018 class.

    1. v-13, you are so right about wanting to block. Blocking is the difference between a “receiver” or a “running back” and a “football player.”

  3. Looks very much like IUFB can genuinely stake their claim to consistently and successfully earning solid 3* commits. Everyone can recognize the next step in the progression. The Q is will it be in-state or out of state **** HS’ers accepting the nod?

  4. About 37 years ago, I learned that it was easier for IU to recruit football players from outside the state of Indiana than it was to recruit talented players from within it. I don’t think much has changed since. Familiarity with the perpetually losing in-state program still breeds contempt. Almost all the best High School football talent has rejected IU’s offers over the last five decades. In fact, I’m struggling to remember the last time any of Indiana’s top three HS players committed to IU? Can anyone help with that history?

    As for Allen’s recruiting, if he produces winning seasons, nobody is going to care where he found the talent to do so. Sooner and Cornhusker fans don’t care that the majority of their roster comes from states other than Oklahoma and Nebraska! And if he loses, signing all the best Indiana HS football players is not going to prevent Allen from getting fired. So, while we’d all like to think that the best in-state football talent will sign with IU, the truth is that this is a non-issue. As long as he’s trying hard to improve in-state recruiting, I won’t fault Allen if he has to go to other areas of the country to get the talent he needs to produce winning seasons.

    1. They have to. The list of great Hoosier football players would barely field a team.

      Sad but true.

      1. Chet,

        It’s funny but I was thinking exactly the same thing regarding the lack of Hoosier grown talent. If TA wants to produce a winning program he will have to recruit the vast majority of the talent from outside the state. Quite frankly, it will have to be recruited from outside the region. There is a little more in the surrounding states but not that much and you have to fight much more successful programs for that talent. TA is going to the region where there is the most surplus talent to be found, like it or not, but it is in the south.

        The thing Hoosier nation must come to understand is that like HS BB is to Hoosiers, HS FB is as much or more to southerners. I know it is hard to believe, but having resided in the south for longer than most of the posters here have been around, it is true. HS FB from Georgia to Texas across the gulf states is as much a religion as HS BB is in Indiana and that other state south of the Ohio River.

        We hear complaints that IU BB has not been able to successfully recruit the hotbed of BB talent in Indiana, but other programs in and out of state have. Same holds true for FB, if you want to improve, go to where the talent is at. TA is showing a disposition far more than any other IUFB coach in my memory to go to where that larger talent pool is at. Whether or not he can successfully pull in enough talent to produce a winning effort on the field is yet to be determined.

        At the very least kudos are in order to TA for having the right idea on the recruiting front.

    2. True dat, PO. Ohio lads sign with Michigan and Michigan lads sign w/OSU every year. I wouldn’t care if IUFB signed ’em from Lower Slobovia if it meant winning. Lil’ Abner looked pretty athletic to me, but he might have had to do the JUCO route to get his grades up.

  5. The best Indiana High School FB players are going to be recruited by most of the Big Ten teams, plus Notre Dame, etc. IU’s odds of signing the best in-state players are slim at best. Meanwhile, down in the south there are so many talented football players coming out of HS every year, with only the very best getting offers from SEC or ACC schools, the guys getting passed over by the local powerhouse programs can sign with IU and have a better chance of playing and developing into stars. Sounds like a very smart recruiting strategy to me.

    1. Po,

      This is exactly what I have been trying to get everyone to understand. TA is doing something different from most of his predecessors, hitting the HSFB hotbeds where they are. To do so you have to hit the south with a vengeance, which he is. To do this you have to know the area, which he does and so do the staffers he is hiring.

      You still have to produce on the field, but it starts with the kids you have recruited. A 3 star from the south is not the same as a 3 star from the Midwest due to the heightened level of competition. These kids have been going up against their equals and superiors, game in and game out in HS. Kind of like the BB kids from out of state who look great on tape because they are physically superior to their competition, but have they played Indiana HSBB level competition?

      You don’t have a similar physical separation in southern HSFB, like Indiana HSBB, too many just as good. Doesn’t mean you won’t have the phenomenons, but those are the ones who the SEC powerhouses go after and you see later on in the NFL barring injury. Remember, the SEC bigs miss an acorn every now and then too. TA is going after the missed and overlooked, which if he is going to turn around IUFB, this is exactly what he must do. There are a lot of southern small schools who have fed off the table droppings from the SEC bigs.

      Why can’t a B1G bottom feeder like IU do the same, if they know how?

  6. Po an thinkaboutit, youhave hit the nail on the head about how IU is recruiting now to turn around the program. Our coaches know how many good players are in the South and where to find them. Yes they try to get the best players from Indiana but they face major competition for those players. Getting a top three star or a four star from the South is like a top player in Indiana most times. We have very good players in state but as thinkaboutit states the competion they face isn’t the same that player in the South play every week. Whether others know it or not, IU is now getting better players once again. With enough depth of good players IU will be able to knock off the top teams now and then [ I look for that depth to be in place in 2019 and beyond]. By recognizing players others have missed IU can pull off some of the gems, Ellison from Ohio, Burgess, Penix, etc from the South and Walker from the East. I wish they could get more from Texas with coach Hagens connections and experience in the state.

    Clearly the staff is working hard to bring in players that are better from other areas and I have no problem with that. I would only have a problem if they ignored the state but I understand the tough time they have bringing the top players to IU.

    1. V13,

      I think the TA strategy is becoming very clear and it is a good one, not just for the short term, but long term as well. Davis mentioned the JUCO route as well, guess where the best concentration of JUCO ball in the country is found? You guessed it, same state where TA & new LB coach were so familiar. If you don’t think they will hit those pockets if needed, guess again.

      Camion Patrick had a very unfortunate experience at IU, those terrible breaks happen in all programs. He could have been special had he not experienced such misfortune. He certainly was dominate on the JUCO level. There are lots more where he came from who are at a much higher level than the talent level IU has seen in the past.

      I too, would like to see IU recruit a few from Texas, but the area may not be as vulnerable if UT starts regaining it’s historical status. You also have TA&M probably on the rise with new coach. Not to mention strong programs at Tech and TCU. May pick up a few now and then, but best places for IU to make recruiting inroads are along the gulf coast east of Texas. Especially where we see the commitments coming from now.

  7. Really? So this southern strategy to recruit human resources for IUFB is in the initial stages? I’m sorry but you’ve not been paying attention to the rosters over the last 1/2 dozen years. Don’t know whether to shake my head in disbelief or just giggle at the shallowness.

    1. HC,

      I think you miss the point. Don’t think anyone ever said it was in the initial stages, just much more pronounced. Yes, there has been the attempt to recruit the south but not with the focus you now see. Neither do I think there was the capacity to effectively recruit across all positions now in play. Yes, certain positions were being recruited effectively. The deliberate strategy was not.

      Make no mistakes, the rosters are filling up with southern talent because the staff has been filled with members familiar with the territory. Doesn’t mean 100% of the effort will be southern focused but you will see a continuing targeted strategy to pick up the below the radar talent available wherever it may be. Just so happens the greatest reservoir of IU accessible talent exists in the south. Wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the efforts increase.

      1. Your point was well taken. But you refuse to understand my post. No doubt Allen 2 years into his tenure is picking up the recruiting pace. But Wilson in place for ’17’, ’18’ and ’19’ would be doing the same thing, seeing as how he started the process of IU hitting paydirt in the South. I won’t produce the facts to prove the point because you will erroneously dismiss them . So educate yourself and look at the 6 rosters prior to 2k18. It is as plain as looking in a clean mirror. If you don’t, then continue to flounder in that darkness. It is of no consequence to me.

        1. HC,

          You might want to tone it down just a bit. Took you up on your advice to check the last 6 rosters and indeed there has been an increasing trend to recruit the south begun under Kevin Wilson. Just to be clear when I speak of the southern FB hotbeds, I am speaking of primarily the deep south gulf states from Texas to Florida. I would even include Tenn and SC as well in that number.

          What I also see is a significant jump in these efforts beginning in 2016 with TA’s first year as DC and continuing into 2017. In 2016, the numbers jumped by a little over 30%. I don’t think anyone would consider this insignificant. The strategy may have begun under Kevin Wilson, but it has and continues to increase markedly with the arrival of Tom Allen.

          1. …just as it increased markedly before Allen’s arrival…
            Cormier, Hunter, Big Ralph, Camiel, Johnson, Patrick, Howard, Gooch, Crawford, Bennett, Fant, Walker. All Wilson and staff recruits. All ‘deep South’, from Texas to the Carolinas. There certainly are more names my memory no longer recalls. The process and effort started and increased under Wilson. Just as it has increased under Allen.

          2. HC,
            On that we will certainly agree. Approaching half the team now, will likely exceed 50% in the coming years.

  8. I am not sure T.A. is laying the foundation for anything. Rather, he is just painting the same old foundation. IU gets a 3 star while OSU gets a top running back from Avon Indiana. This is the latest example. Though I am a T.A. fan it will always be more of the same. I do think IU football recruiting has improved the last few years. IU struggling to get 6 or 7 wins with a ceiling of 7+ wins. This brings me to another question. What is a 3 star recruit? How long has a star rating system existed and how does a 3 star rating system today compare to a ssystem of rating players 25+ years ago? Does the relevancy put you somewhat in the same position as you were before?

    1. t,

      I know this is a tough way to look at it, but losing a 4 star RB from a state (IN) which currently has 1 player in the top 100 must be taken in stride. Yes, the OSUs, UMs, & PS of the world will pick off the top talent in the region, but the region is not exactly talent rich. Looking at the latest ratings IN has 2, maybe 3 in the top 250 players in the country. Most states in the southern hotbeds have at least that many in the top 50.

      If I were fortunate enough to pick off a 4 star, I would want them from an area where the competition is much stiffer. Wouldn’t turn down the young man from Avon, but let’s be realistic. He may do well at OSU (one rating has him at 142 another I think at 168 nationally), but IU is not trying to be OSU right now. IU just wants a small measure of respectability at this point in the game. 6 or 7 wins a year would be a major improvement for IU, if it could be sustained and built upon going forward.

      1. Allen and staff need to stop the pipeline to Iowa and any trickle to Wis., NW and Ky.

  9. thinkaboutit,
    I don’t disagree with you. However, a recruit here and there adds up. Thus far recruits from the south, Jr college transfers and other places has got IU fb up to six wins (major qb issues) which includes some recent wins over P.U. in their down years. Also a game on pre big ten schedule was traded for what was more of a sure win that was not a strong pre-big ten schedule anyway. I see 6 or 7+ wins in an up year however not anywhere near a year to year basis in the foreseeable future. I think Northwestern is one of the best things going over the last 20-25 years for what they are and Fitzgerald is included in that.

  10. Often, IU fb fans will comment how IU was competitive and close to winning this game or that game if only. That may be partially true. However, going back thru the history of IU football they have been competitive and close in several games.

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