Early signing period live blog

The 72-hour early signing period opens this morning at 7 a.m., and Indiana appears poised to officially welcome the majority of its committed targets.

As players file their National Letters of Intent with IU, we’ll update the list of Indiana signees in the order in which those letters were received (Check in often. This list will be updated throughout the morning with signings and thoughts from IU coaches):

IU coach Tom Allen on the class, as a whole: “We really loved the group we brought in a year ago and a lot of those guys played, but we knew we had to do it again. And we gotta do it again next year. That’s how you build your program and that’s how you build your depth and have what you need to go compete in this great conference. I really like the class. I like the flexibility we have on both sides of the football, special teams as well. Guys that fit our profile. We’re trying to find long athletes that can make plays in space on both sides, big guys up front that we can develop and guys that love the game — high-character guys that care about school and want to help this program continue to move forward.”

Larry Tracy, 5-10, 175, CB, Indianapolis, Ind. (Decatur Central): The first letter of the day was filed by Tracy, a local product who chose IU over offers from Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue. Tracy helped Decatur Central to the state finals while posting 64 tackles, 14 pass deflections and one breakup.

“We try to do a great job of keeping our homegrown talent here at IU,” IU cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said. “He’s a great young man, as well. Been watching him over the years. He’s right up the road at Decatur Central. Led his team to a state championship this year. They came up a little bit short, but it’s really great to have someone that is close to IU stay home and help us get it done here.”

Tiawan Mullen, 5-10, 160, CB, Pompano Beach, Fla. (Coconut Creek): An Army All-American Bowl participant, Mullen is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals. The 5-foot-10 corner chose IU over Nebraska and Pitt, giving the Hoosiers their second All-American in as many years (K Charles Campbell).

“Over the years of me being here, he’s probably one of the funnest guys I’ve had to recruit,” IU cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said. “He’s got a great personality, believes in family and also, he’s a heck of a football player as well. He got invited to the Army All-American game. He’s got great genetics, he’s a great football player, loves football and I think he’s going to be a great addition to our team.”

Jeramy Passmore, 6-2, 250, DE, Miami, Fla. (Columbus): Passmore was the fourth commit and the third to sign this cycle. The three-star prospect chose Indiana over offers from Maryland, Baylor, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Syracuse.

“He’s kind of a hybrid for us,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “We eventually think he’ll move inside, but he’ll come in at the end position and we’ll gradually build him up with (the strength and conditioning staff). Tremendous football player. Very technical. Plays at a great school down there. He played for the state championship in the highest class down there.”

Michael Katic, 6-4, 270, OG, Gibsonia, Pa. (Pine-Richland): The three-star prospect held offers from Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt, originally committing to IU in June.

“We got on him early in the spring time,” IU offensive line coach Darren Hiller said. “I got up there to see him. He’s an interior guy. He’s very solid. He really can bend and comes from a very successful high school football program. He was one of the first guys in this morning and we’re extremely excited to have Michael.”

Gary Cooper, 6-1, 217, TE, Miami, Fla. (Columbus): A high school teammate of new IU defensive end Jeramy Passmore, Cooper caught 16 passes for 195 yards in eight games this seasm. The three-star prospect committed to IU over offers from Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida.

“He brings a lot to our offense,” IU offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “He’s got the ability to be out wide. (You can) bring him in tight. He’s a great run blocker, as well as a great threat in the passing game.”

Sampson James, 6-1, 211, RB, Avon, Ind. (Avon): The crown jewel of the class, James was among the first to file his paperwork with IU on Wednesday. The Hoosiers flipped the four-star’s commitment from Ohio State in October, landing a running back considered among the top 10 nationwide at his position.

“One of the highest-ranked players to come in here,” IU running backs coach Mike Hart said. “We’re definitely excited about him. We spent a lot of time recruiting him, between Coach Allen and I, Coach DeBord, the whole offense. We’re excited to get him in here. He’s local, an Avon, Ind. kid. Just really excited to get him here and see what he can do. He’s coming mid-year, which will be big for him.”

Kervens Bonhomme, 6-1, 225, LB, Clearwater, Fla. (Clearwater Academy International): The three-star linebacker is originally from St. Catharines, Ontario. He held offers from Nebraska, Central Florida and Temple, among others. Bonhomme posted 100 tackles last season, including 22 for loss.

— Sio Nofoagatoto’a, 6-2, 321, DT, Clearwater, Fla. (Clearwater Academy International): Nofoagatoto’a held offers from Arizona, Maryland, Nebraska and Virginia, among others. He posted 45 tackles in nine games last season, with 14 tackles for loss.

“A lot like Juan (Harris),” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “A very, very large individual. Very strong. He’s going to take up a lot of space inside for us. Really anxious to get him in here in June and get him going.”

David Ellis, 6-0, 190, WR, Clinton Township, Mich. (Chippewa Valley): The three-star prospect held offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Toledo and Western Michigan.

“Went north again,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “David is just a really complete player. Plays both sides of the football, special teams — a great return man. Just want to get the ball in his hands on offense and (he) can play in the backfield on defense. High character guy that comes from a great family.”

Sean Wracher, 6-4, 195, LS, Cleveland, Ohio (St. Ignatius): With the graduation of four-year starter Dan Godsil, Indiana needs a new long snapper. Enter Wracher, who also held offers from Pitt, Syracuse and Toledo.

“One of the greatest things about Sean is he’s done everything correct,” IU special teams coach William Inge said. “He’s gone through all of the Kohls camping, the Kornblue snapping and he puts a lot of velocity on the ball. He’s very long at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. We know he’s going to develop. Probably the thing that we like the best about him is that he’s also a very good baseball player. So he brings an athletic realm to the table, as well.”

Juan Harris, 6-3, 360, DT, Chicago, Ill. (Independence C.C.): Harris is a familiar face for the Hoosiers, having only left the program this past spring. His return Wednesday after a one-season stint at junior college marks the third time he’s committed to IU. He also committed (and decommitted) three times to Iowa. During his one season at Independence, Harris posted 38.0 tackles, including 4.5 for loss.

“He brings instant stability to the nose position, where we lost three young men that played quite a bit for us and really played all the snaps inside,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “Not to get into specifics, but Juan left us, he’s back home now and it’s great to have him back.”

Ivory Winters, 5-11, 206, RB, Hayti, Mo. (Hayti): The Hoosiers held off a late pursuit by Arkansas to land Winters, the latest player to enter a talented and crowded IU backfield. Don’t sleep on Winters, who rushed for 2,786 yards on 199 carries and posted 59 total touchdowns during his team’s run to a state championship.

“He’s a big boy,” IU running backs coach Mike Hart said. “Ivory had a lot of yards, being over 2,000 yards rushing and 59 touchdowns. He’s a kid that (played) low-level football, but we’re excited about him. Went to see him play live and scored about eight touchdowns in one game. He’s definitely a big guy that can run.”

C.J. Person, 6-2, 295, DT, Montgomery, Ala. (Montgomery Catholic Preparatory): Person held offers from Purdue, Mississippi State and Duke, among others. He’s considered the No. 71 defensive tackle in the nation, giving IU some much-needed size, depth and versatility on the interior of its line.

“We had to replenish our ranks inside,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “I think he can probably play both spots for us, so we’ll train him at both the three-technique and the nose. But CJ’s another guy that had a tremendous senior year.”

Da’shaun Brown, 6-1, 170, ATH, Racine, Wis. (St. Catherines): This fall, Brown was considered the top player in the state of Wisconsin after leading his school to a state title as a quarterback. He’s likely to wind up at receiver for Indiana after choosing the Hoosiers over offers from Iowa and Wisconsin, among others.

“He’s a young man that’s a very versatile athlete,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “Played quarterback in high school, can play wide receiver, can play defensive back. (He’s) a guy that’s just a very explosive playmaker. Trying to get guys that fit the mold of what we’re looking for as young men and players. Just so excited to have Da’shaun and go into Wisconsin and get their best player.”

Beau Robbins, 6-4, 238, DE, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel): Robbins is the third four-star prospect to sign with IU on Wednesday morning. The Carmel product has been committed to Indiana since June, pledging to the Hoosiers as one of the first players in the class.

“Beau Robbins was a priority from Day 1,” IU defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “Both at the end and tackle position, I think he was the first guy we offered in this 2019 class a couple years ago. We think he’s an every-down player for us at the strong side defensive end. Bright, bright future awaits him here in Bloomington.”

Matthew Bedford, 6-5, 260, OT, Cordova, Tenn. (Cordova): Indiana outlasted a late pursuit by South Carolina in signing this coveted offensive lineman. Bedford also entertained interest from Mississippi State before following through on his verbal commitment to IU.

“We’re extremely excited,” IU offensive line coach Darren Hiller said. “We put a lot of man hours in that. Coach (William) Inge was the point guy on it. We’re excited. He’s gonna be a really good athletic guy for us. Found him in the summertime when we went down to a camp in Memphis. Loved him from the first day we saw him. Put in a lot of work. To get him today was a good one.”

Antoine Whitner, 6-5, 305, OL/DL, Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy): This versatile two-way lineman committed and signed with IU on Wednesday, choosing the Hoosiers over offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland, N.C. State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oregon and Florida.

“Antoine’s a young man that we’re so excited about,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “He gives us great versatility. He can play both sides of the ball. He can play inside and outside on defense. Just a big athlete. That’s what we’re trying to get here is get bigger and longer and guys that give us versatility. Kind of the same philosophy last year. Brought in Stevie Scott as an offensive and defensive guy that can play linebacker and running back. Really weren’t sure when we signed him, but obviously he came here and did great things. Just trying to find guys that fit what we’re looking for, the complete package, and guys that have versatility give us a lot of flexibility as a staff.”

Jordan Jakes, 6-5, 195, WR, Stockbridge, Ga. (St. Frances Academy): The Georgia native held offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, among others. Jakes is a three-star prospect who committed to IU in August.

— Three-star linebacker commit Dorian Jones flipped his commitment and signed with Louisville. It’s a not-altogether surprising development after Jones visited Louisville last weekend.

Cameron Williams, 6-3, 215, LB, Merrillville, Ind. (Andrean): Williams’ decision to sign with Indiana gives the Hoosiers a fourth four-star prospect to add to its class. That’s not counting quarterback transfer Jack Tuttle, himself a four-star recruit in last year’s cycle. Williams is considered the No. 5 player in the state of Indiana — right after fellow IU signees Sampson James (No. 3) and Beau Robbins (No. 4).

42 comments

  1. That nose tackle spots looks to be in good shape for the next four years with Harris and Nofoagatoto’a in the fold.

  2. I can’t wait to see Larry Tracy and Taiwan Mullen in the defensive backfield. Hoping David Bell watches the film on Tuttle because its fantastic!

  3. Deepest IU backfield I can ever remember. I thought Winters might get flipped but it looks like they held on the him.

  4. We still rank 11 in B1G over Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland. Maryland is a mess right now so hard to make up ground unless you get Elite coaching. I don’t think they will get that. Brohm is transformational at PU. They are now in the top 5 in conference and top 25 nationally. We will be the same as this year or even worse. Guaranteed!!!!!

    1. Okay, right now the only difference in results between Brohm and Allen in two seasons has been the bucket game.

      Brohm MAY turn out to be a great coach but, so far, he is one win per season ahead of Allen and he coaches in the kiddie division.

      Let’s wait until he does something before showering him with praise.

  5. This is the best class I’ve ever seen and I’m no spring chicken. Don’t get so hung up on rankings. Look at the offers instead. We never used to beat out these other programs. Allen is doing a great job recruiting!

      1. I’m agreeing 100% that stars = zero but offers from other programs means a lot. These are good, but don’t over-hyperbole; the trend of at least a few guts picking IUFB over competitive programs started w/Wilson.

  6. Instead of going by total point rankings the key is really the average score rankings because some not all teams have the same amount of spots to offer; the total scores are based on 20 players. One negative for IU is Wracher as sites rate him as a 2 star but the kicking sites rate him as a 5 star long snapper. This is a very good class for IU, especially with Tuttle added to it, that will get better as the day goes along. It will be interesting to see who they add that we weren’t counting on.

  7. That backfield is loaded with talent and different types of guys too Scott,Walker,James,and Winters whoa but now it’s time for Tom Allen to translate this recruiting into wins atleast gettin bowl games

  8. Something is up with Dorian Jones. He’s not listed as a commit anymore on 247 but I haven’t seen anywhere that he has decommitted.

  9. Jakes is a big signing as I was hoping IU would keep him. He should really help the WR and IU has add Ellis and D. Brown that could make this a very good WR class. RB room just got more crowded with very good RBs in this class. TEs have very good players that are young and adding Cooper will make them even better. With IU now having two of the better QBs in the nation in the 2018 Penix and Tuttle, the future for the offense looks good. IU added a couple of OLmen that have talent to be very good but they need to add a couple more for this class in the second signing day.

    The DL looks like it will really improve the DL at IU, i really like the players they have added and I think some could play early. LBs added a good player to add to the younger LBs. I hope IU can add another LB in this class but they may decide to move some Husky players to LB in 2019. The DBs added two very good players with Mullen and Tracy. Overall this is a good balanced class for IU, they need to add more OL and get Bell and Williams if possible.

    1. “With IU now having two of the better QBs in the nation in the 2018 Penix and Tuttle . . . .” Eegads, v13, these are two guys who’ve scarcely played a down of college football and they are the “better” QBs in the nation? Must be a lot of crummy quarterbacks on the rosters for about 100 other schools. Admire your optimism, sir, but really?

  10. A strong show today for IUFB. Proved by the programs who wanted and offered these players but lost out to the Hoosiers. But it is what I expect from Coach Allen. Performance gets the glory talk but results are all that pay $. Only critical of keeping RB Winters when LB’s and LOS still need more talent in #’s to grow competition, improvement and depth. We’ll see. Maybe more help coming later, I hope. Gotta like the QB transfer Tuttle. He makes sense to be added unlike the Arizona transfer Dawkins last year who couldn’t throw an anvil and connect with the ground. Still believe 3 coaching changes need to take place to get to +.500+ in 2k19. Coaching has to improve. It is the 1 waning ingredient. Again we’ll see.

  11. Nice IU recruiting class = realistically to hover at 500 ball if it gets there. Silly comments stars don’t matter, don’t get hung up on rankings etc. If IU were able to get higher stars and higher ranking those who make such silly comments would become estatic how stars and rankings matter.

  12. Indiana University secured 4 if the top 6 recruits in Indiana.

    I’m pleased with this class. These are some quality players I’m really looking forward to watching play.

    I’m with HC, now that we have these kids inked, let’s hope Debord finds a sudden and irreversible passion for long fishing trips.

  13. Sorry Chet, but there is a lot more than just two bucket games separating Brohm and T.A.. Transforming a losing program into a winning program in one season, two consecutive bowl games, a blow-out win over highly rated OSU, much higher ranked recruiting classes two years in a row, 15,000 more fans in the stadium for home games, and of course, about $3.5 million per year in compensation. Purdue did not break the bank to keep Brohm because the jury was still out on Brohm’s coaching ability or because they thought he was an average coach. So far, he’s proven to be an outstanding coach. The best thing that objective IU fans can say about T.A. is that (hopefully) he’s still progressing through the head-coaching learning curve. But T.A. is not at Brohm’s level right now.

    What we can say about T.A. is that he and his staff are good recruiters and are not afraid to think out of the box when looking for talent. Now they have to prove they can develop, prepare and motivate talented young men to win more than they lose. If T.A. fails to do that, at least his successor will not find the talent cupboards bare upon his arrival at IU.

    1. Let’s say the Hoosiers won the Bucket games. That’s ONE game in each season. Using your criteria, had the Hoosiers won that one game then Allen would be the great coaching hire and Brohm would be feeling his way along.

      Because of one game.

      Based on the results on the field they are separated by one game in each of the first two seasons.

      Brohm may turn out to be the next Vince Lombardi but, for the time being, the two coaches are separated by the Bucket game.

    2. PO, you forgot to mention that the IUFB staff needs to get the whole thing organized so that when IU takes the field it looks like it has actually seen a football sometime beforehand. “This is a football. It starts when we kick it to the other team. With any luck, it will go more than forty yards in the right direction and one of our guys will tackle one of the other guys when he catches it. Let me explain about tackling . . . .” All this recruiting stuff is wonderful, but Allen, as an head coach who can direct, on game day, the endeavor that is a major college football team seems to be AWOL. Which is not to say fire him now, but man, oh, man when will he get it together?

  14. If I counted properly, IU secured signed commitments from 19 players today. How many players does IU plan to sign for this class?

    Hate to sound like I’m nit-picking, but I’m tired of reading/hearing T.A. talk about getting guys who “can compete.” He always uses the word “compete.” Enough with the word compete. All these kids, recruited to play at this level can “compete.” It’s baked into the cake for goodness sake. How about T.A. start talking about getting guys “who can WIN!” How about talking about a recruit that is “a winner,” or a group of guys who are “winners.” We need a coach who starts talking about guys who are winners. In the end, fans don’t really care about a group of guys who compete, they care about a group of guys who win. Raise the bar, coach!

  15. Purdue had big win vs OSU plus a bowl win. Purdue had a couple bad losses beginning of season. However, a significant difference was that several games Purdue lost were significant closer and competitive than games that IU lost so much so that Purdue was a solid favorite in Bucket game. Purdue pretty much controlled the Bucket outcome the last two years.

  16. Po, coach Allen has learned if the is too optimistic about the players fans over expect how the team will do. This group and last year’s group come from winning programs and know how to win. Give them time to develop and they will win games they haven’t won in the past. The past two classes have come from state championship teams or top programs in the state that other major college teams wanted.

    I really like the 2018 and 2019 classes especial with Penix and Tuttle being added to the team along with players that could contribute the the 2018 season. Bet the 2019 class has players that will see the field in the 2019 season. I want to see how these two classes develop and see how they can win B1G games in the following years.

  17. If Tuttle were classified as an incoming freshman (he may have 4 years of eligibility) how much would that affect the rankings?

  18. Brohm is worth $6 million on the open market. Allen is worth about 1/4 of that. Seems like a settled argument.

    1. No doubt. That seems perfectly reasonable. I don’t sell Brohm short. The facts are, it has all boiled down to the last game of the season the past two years to determine who is the big success and who is unproven.

      It is what it is.

  19. v13, I really like the last two recruiting classes too, at least relative to so many recruiting classes dating back over the last three decades. They’re clearly better classes, but are they as good as they could have been and are they good enough to generate winning seasons? That’s the relevant question.

    I must confess that when I see Purdue’s recruiting class getting ranked so much higher than IU’s recruiting class, it pisses me off. We can say that Purdue is a part of the weaker Big Ten Division, but the recruits don’t wseem to care. And if that’s your argument, all the more reason why IU needs a proven coach against the superior teams in the Big Ten’s east division. The only real difference between IU FB and Purdue FB is the coaching staffs’ abilities. Forget about the programs’ respective histories, Purdue was terrible for years and lost four consecutive bucket battles to IU. They erased that bad period of history with the hiring of Brohm and two years later they’ve passed IU as if we were standing still. Fred Glass is getting his butt kicked by IU’s arch rival. I wonder if he even cares?

    As for T.A. managing expectations of IU’s fan base, you were kidding, right? What expectations? Could any Power-five conference school’s fan base have lower expectations than The Hoosier Nation has for IU Football? What’s T.A. trying to protect by managing expectations? Do you think T.A. will keep his job if he continues to produce losing seasons as long as his players compete? I can see it now, Fred Glass addressing the media in a news conference, “while his football program has failed to produce a winning season in his first five years as IU’s Head Football Coach, we’ve decided to extend T.A.’s contract because his players compete and because his compensation is cost effective.” I want T.A. to recruit winners, and I want the language he uses to elevate expectations amongst his players, as individuals and as a group.

    1. I don’t know anything about the algorithm determining the rankings but I’d guess, if Tuttle was included as a recruit, there would not be much difference in the incoming class ranking between IU and the Boils.

      1. Chet- I didn’t think there was any way that one player would jump IU in the rankings from 40th all the way up to 25th (Purdue’s ranking}. 247 Sports has a ranking calculator that shows how much each player added to their team’s total ranking. So I looked up Tuttle’s ranking from a year before and added it to IU’s ranking for this year. It bumped IU all the way to 217.88- just above Purdue’s 217.45. If IU could include Tuttle as a recruit instead of as a transfer, IU would have beaten Purdue in the rankings.

  20. Hagen and Hart are to be congratulated. If IU (Debord) is unable to recruit at least high level 3 @ QB’s right out of HS the program will suffer. Yes I know about poached JC players and transfers (Tuttle). Don’t like playcalling and apparently is a relatively weak salesman.

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