4-star WR Rashawn Williams commits to IU

Indiana’s recent recruiting momentum has extended to the 2020 class.

Nearly three months after locking down the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history, Tom Allen on Monday landed the Hoosiers’ highest-ranked recruit in four-star receiver Rashawn Williams.

Provided the Detroit native signs a National Letter of Intent with IU in December, Williams will be the sixth four-star prospect landed by Allen in the last three recruiting cycles. Per Rivals, Williams is the highest-ranked commit for Indiana in the recruiting rankings era. Avon running back Sampson James, who enrolled at IU in January, previously held that distinction.

“This is a big pickup for Tom Allen and company,” 247 Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong said on Monday’s episode of The Notorious B1G recruiting podcast. “When you look at Indiana’s 2019 recruiting class, it’s the best one that Indiana has ever had in 247 Sports history. They finished 39th nationally. Our history goes back to 2010. I thought they recruited really well (with) interesting body types at receiver, but I think Rashawn Williams is an upgrade from what they signed at the position last year.

“I really like the way this program is trending on the recruiting trail as Tom Allen and company get their footing and philosophy and everything in order. This is another good pickup on offense after really hitting big at running back last year. They now go out and land a dynamic receiver that helped that (Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School) team win a state championship last year.”

Williams chose the Hoosiers over Purdue, Syracuse, West Virginia and Cincinnati. He also held offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, among others. While 247 Sports rates Williams as the No. 166 recruit in the nation and the No. 33 player at his position, Rivals ranks the 6-foot-1 receiver as the No. 39 player nationally and the No. 6 wide-out.

Either way, he appears to be the caliber of player Indiana needs.

“The only question on the kid is exactly how fast he is on a stop watch,” 247 Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said on the podcast. “He hasn’t been to a (regional scouting combine) this year, so we still don’t know the answer to that, but we do know the answer to the question that the kid can absolutely play football.”

As a junior last fall, Williams was a second-team selection on the Detroit Free Press’ All-Detroit high school team.

He’s the third member of IU’s 2020 recruiting class, joining Carmel linebacker Ty Wise and offensive lineman Luke Wiginton, a native of Fort Wayne.

“(Williams) has outstanding ball skills,” Trieu said. “He’s tough and very physical and he surprised me with what he can do after the catch. … He’ll go up and get the football. He’s 6-foot-1, so he’s not your traditional 6-foot-4 fade guy, but he can go up and get the football because he has such good strength and hand-eye coordination.”

49 comments

  1. If TA can keep this up and continue to build the recruiting quality level upwards at this rate, these will be the first seriously positive steps of this magnitude for IUFB in a very, very, very long time . . . However, we also know this is IUFB. Williams appears to be a great get for the program, and should do very well in 2020 provided the right moves are made on the field this year. That means you must have a QB who capable of throwing more than the dink and dunks of the last two years.

    If we see another season of sending your receivers into the dink and dunk treatment again, don’t be surprised if Williams recommits elsewhere before the signing date. Kids of this caliber do not wish to see their FB careers ended on a college FB field because the QB play was putting them into higher risk of injury situations. The emergence of either Penix, Tuttle, or both this year, will be crucial for the chance of program success under TA.

  2. Cant argue with Tom Allen’s recruiting chops but can this turn into more wins thats the question

  3. This is a great pick up for IU. He is .1 away from being a 5 star player and could very well get there this season. Accounts of his visit to IU said he and his family loved IU, the coaching staff, and the family atmosphere the team and coaches have developed. This staff is improving the talent on the team and if it continues I expect IU will move up in the B1G.

    Unlike others, I would love for IU and PU to become teams that can challenge for the championship. It would be great to see both Indiana B1G teams become nationally ranked in the top ten.

    1. V13,
      Lest anyone forget, such a wish is not out of the realm of possibility. It has been done before in 1967, with IU finishing at #4 and PU at #9.

  4. The rebuilding process of IUFB is a misnomer. Rebuilding says that there was something built in the first place. Indiana had uniforms, pads, helmets, cleats, etc, and they were a football team, but we’ve hardly had a football program.

    We’ve been playing “Make-Believe Football Program” since there was a football field in the middle of campus and our guys’ heads were covered with cowhide. Considering that we had to compete against Michigan, PSU & OSU, when we got serious about actually building a football program, success was never going to come with just a lucky season by a lucky and good coach.

    Of course there have been many missteps since we got serious about building an actual B1G program. But, there is finally something that resembles what other successful programs call “a foundation.” Facilities: check. Stability of Coaching Staff: check. Paying for good Assistant Coaches: check. Coach with a long-term vision: check.

    Many have made arguments questioning the process for building here. Head Coaching salary, previous background (coordinator vs lower conference HC), game-day offerings to fans, ticket prices, promotions, alcohol sales, hookers (wait nevermind, that’s Louisville). They’re all valid, but they’re also unanswerable. I still think there’s no valid comparison to any football program in D1. The closest would be a D-II school making the leap to D-1, but it is unprecedented to see one of those schools go right into the nastiest division of a Power Conference.

    Ultimately, the head coach will be the guy who has to build on the foundation. It remains to be seen whether Tom Allen can ultimately match wits with Jim Harbaugh, Tony Franklin & Jeff Brohm on the football field, but he IS demonstrating that he is catching up to them on the recruiting trail. Considering the historical perception and handicaps, it’s remarkable. Indiana University is no 737 MAX. Boeing would have had to have 7-10 catastrophic crashes a Fall for a century to match our record.

    Indeed, this is encouraging. Dare I say we might be seeing the first fruits budding on the trees of a real Football Program? It’s easy to say “No.” The brave are saying “Possibly.”

    “Ok, Lucy, hold that football and let me get a running start….”

  5. This is a very very very good get and when he signs it is a TA home run with men on base for sure. Besides his play ability he gives an excellent intelligent interview. On Sunday before announcing his decision he talked about possible schools recruiting him that included Purdue and big play making plus playing time. He referred to trust plus wanting to bring more Detroit players to IU if he chose IU. Trust and integrity is one of Tom Allen’s best strength as a coach. I think a lot of young guys like him because of these strengths.
    Espn has him @ 4 stars @ 80. Don’t know where .1 of a star from 5 stars come from, V.

    1. Rivals has him as a 6.0 4 star and with .1 more he would be a 5 star in their system. I don’t follow the ESPN system so I can comment on their ratings.

  6. So is Williams IU’s Moore? Will he make the same type of impact that Moore did for Purdue?

    Welcome to IU Mr. Williams.

    1. I hope he makes the same impact as Moore has for Purdue. If he does then 2020 will be the year IU makes it into the upper level of the B1G with the recruits from 2018 and 2019 on the field. 2019 needs to be a year of beating one or more of the “big dogs” so that 2020 is the year. This coming season needs to be a year that brings in better recruits and shows fans they can move up into the upper level of the B1G even if they come up short this year. There is a good mix of old and young talent on the team to have 2019 a good year promising even better years coming.

      1. IU has moved from giving up 80 points to losing games by one or two plays.

        Honestly, so many games hinged on a play or two (just like many average teams) when, not so long ago, we might have been down by 4…5…6 scores in the 4th quarter.

        I want to win, like everyone else, but I also understand that we are no longer being humiliated every Saturday.

  7. Looks like IU is in on two of his HS teammates as well. A big 4 star RB and a big high 3 star OT. This could be quite the package deal if they can pull it off.

    1. You got that right Davis,
      Biggest problem for TA is he is trying to build something at a historically terrible FB school and to make matters worse, the B1G has stacked the deck against it’s lower tier schools. The B1G has no one to blame but itself for the lack of competitiveness nationally. When I say competitiveness, I’m speaking of the two revenue producing sports in college athletics. Outside of the lone FB championship by OSU a few years ago, the B1G has been shut out and now is not even getting teams into the BCS. Nothing illustrates this better than forcing B1G teams to play 9 conference FB games. It’s tough enough for low tier teams like IU to become bowl eligible, now let’s make the climb steeper.

      1. Thanks, thinker, and I see how playing nine conf. games might keep some of the low-tier B1G teams out of a bowl game, but not sure how it hinders BCS appearances for the top tier. Top tier teams need, or at least to my thinking should, schedule at least one “signature” opponent in non-conf. play to establish themselves as a contender (not to mention hang an L on another potential contender) for the playoffs. But three non-conf. games allow for that just as well as four non-conf. games.

        1. Davis,
          It does have an effect on the top tier teams, especially if you are in a good conference or a tough division. Look at the effect the one loss to PU had on OSU. It was not a division game but rather a conference game. Imagine adding another game from the “weak” side of the B1G. It just adds additional chances to get knocked off and put out of the BCS. As long as there are only going to be 4 teams allowed into the BCS, you can’t be putting any of your top tier schools at risk like this.

          Just an additional point, the Pac 12 decided to double down on their 9 game conference schedule. Their national competitive record nearly matches the B1G futility in recent years. The Big 12 is nearly has also become as toothless as the Pac 12 and B1G in terms of national titles in the two main revenue sports. National championship speaking it is becoming the Big Two and little three in Power 5 conferences. If you have a tough enough conference, you don’t need additional signature games, playing 8 conference games is plenty tough enough.

          1. Not illogical, thinker, but it boils down to “schedule more cupcakes.” I’m not sure that’s the answer. My answer is the BCS playoffs be expanded to eight teams. Power Five conf. winners get automatic bids. Two of the other spots go to also-rans, and the other goes to the champ of one of the lesser conferences.

          2. I think I there is a middle ground between a SW Toledo State and Alabama. IU got one of their best wins in recent memory against a Mizzou team that went in to win the SEC west.

            Schedule a North Carolina, UCLA, or Georgia Tech. They have better name recognition than Ball State. Shoot, you’ll be scheduling them seven years in advance so who knows what they will be when you play them. Win or lose, it sounds better.

            It is not always binary.

          3. Chet,
            Hate to correct you on this one, but the Missouri team IU beat went on the win the SEC east not the west, the east has been much different than the SEC west. The SEC east at the time was much more akin to the B1G west, in other words, the weaker division of the conference. As expected that Missouri team was promptly dispatched by the SEC west champion (Alabama) in the SEC championship game. I would put the win over that Missouri team on par with a win over maybe Northwestern last season. For IU a good win nonetheless, but not as good as one would think with the SEC east being as weak as it was during those years.

          4. TIA,
            Thanks. As I am not a devotee of the SEC I admit to screwing that one up regularly.

            Missouri, being west of just about every team except Texas A&M is in the east. That makes complete sense.

          5. Anyway, my point wasn’t that Missouri is an SEC power.

            Quite the opposite.

            It was that IU scheduled a recognizable program who just happened to win their division years after the schedule was made. The same could happen with a UCLA, North Carolina, et al. They could also end up not being as good as a Northern Illinois. But a win over (or a loss to) UCLA or Colorado certainly sounds better than the same with Akron or Appalachian State.

      2. But you’ve digressed from the subject, Brother Chet. The issue isn’t how IUFB schedules its non-conf. games; thinker and I were discussing whether playing nine conf. games hurts league chances to send a team to the BCS playoffs. OSU certainly got exposed as a pretender (or at least labeled as such) when it lost to the pus accumulations last year. Which is why I wrote that thinker’s thinking that an eight game conf. schedule improves BCS probabilities only makes sense in terms of playing another cupcake (SW Toledo St.) in the non-conf. schedule.

        Actually, I agree with you about how IUFB should schedule its non-conf. schedule. UVa. was an example of that last year. Get on an airplane like a real Power Five program and play a middling ACC or Pac 12 (or whatever it’s called these days) team.

        1. Davis,
          Thanks for getting back to the root of the concern – too many B1G games hinders the conference. Chet was right in that I am a student of what the SEC has done to make itself so dominant, but I certainly do not consider myself a devote, that’s reserved for the B1G. Which is why I would say this, there was a time when it would have been insanity to play anymore B1G games than they did. It was a very long time ago when the B1G was the dominant FB conference. The biggest problem the B1G had at the time was playing too many conference games leading to their top teams being so battered they could not compete in the New Year’s day games a peak efficiency against teams from lesser conferences who were not that beat up.

          This has been a major concern for the SEC, in particular the SEC west, due to by the time you get through the SEC schedule the casualties are major. Let’s not forget Alabama still managed to win the 2017 championship with over 50 major injuries to the team, they were literally down to playing their 3rd string 5* players. All joking aside, if you are a good conference and have a particularly strong division (ala B1G east), playing extra games in a good conference only enhances the opportunities for more injuries. Which is why you don’t see the ACC or the SEC playing 9 conference games and why they are dominating the BCS.

          As for Chet’s wondering about the weird alignment of Missouri being in the east, it was due to balancing the divisions. The only way they could have kept Missouri in the west was to split Alabama and Auburn into east and west as the B1G did to IU and PU. The SEC was not about to take their biggest rivalry into that territory, so Missouri to the east.

  8. A lot of good comments posted above. I enjoyed your post Double Down, but think Coach Mallory and Coach Pont might take exception to a part of your post. The Hoosier nation has had brief periods where our football program was relevant, showed promise, and made some noise. But IU’s administration just Neve invested enough to build on the initial success or sustain it. It was NEVER a priority in Bloomington, and that is the shame of IU Football’s legacy.

    No question Allen has improved recruiting. But let’s not get too excited until the ink is dry on Williams’ Letter of Intent next December. Being from Michigan and having offers from MSU and MI makes me nervous. Those programs don’t tolerate their best in-state talent get poached by out-of-state schools without putting up a big fight, and as I’m sure Allen knows, one or both of those schools are going to apply a lot of pressure to Williams to flip. And we’ve seen this scenario so many times in the past where a highly ranked player commits to IU, kind of using their verbal commitment as a way of getting the attention of the big boys.

    And davis said it best with “None of this will matter unless Allen can get his act together on Saturday afternoons.” Learning how to delegate and trust your coordinators while in the heat of battle, in a close game on Saturdays, is the next key hurdle Allen must cross. And it would be a nice start if he stopped jumping around and going bonkers to celebrate relatively minor on-field achievements. A fist pump, a hug or a high-five would suffice until IU scores the winning touchdown in the closing seconds to beat OSU, MI or PSU.

  9. And if he did, that would be appropriate and I would support his celebration. But going bonkers when one of his defenders gets a “take-away” makes him look like a bush-leaguer and suggests that his expectations are not high enough. A few years ago, IU made a big play and one of Wilson’s assistant coaches went bonkers on the sideline. Wilson grabbed him and told him to calm down. The point Wilson was sending was that his coaches should act like they’d been there before and to save their big celebrations for when his team achieved something significant. I thought Wilson was spot on.

    1. PO, I should sue you for stealing my material. Especially the part about low expectations. Can you imagine if Allen gave out helmet stickers a la OSU? Chin strap fastened correctly? “Attaboy!!!”

      1. RMK used to lose his mind when someone missed setting a screen.

        Everyone has their own style.

  10. I’m not a rah-rah guy. But I do appreciate and encourage Allen displaying his genuine enthusiasm. I’m quite sure he displayed the same emotion as a position coach, absolutely did the same as a DC. Sideline genuineness as a HC is good for the players to see and feel, same prideful affect on the staff, the fans and no doubt a positive image for recruiting. That demeanor is good for the program. No mystery these new higher ranked commits certainly agree.

  11. There is genuine enthusiasm and then there’s over-the-top, bonkers, excessive celebration. No problem going bonkers when the situation warrants it, but in the last two season, it hasn’t.

    1. I haven’t seen anything close to bonkers from Allen. Just authentic energy and enthusiasm. Over the top, stupid bonkers is easy to recognize as it was on display in Bloomington for years in the form of Corso. What a dip sh¿£. He would have been much more successful as a stand up comic.

  12. A little brake tapping seems in order here. The Williams commitment is nice, but IU’s recruiting under Allen, while elevated nationally, remains in the bottom third of the BiG, and it’s a consensus 5th or 6th in the BigEast. Combine those realities with the lack of talent and experience on the OL and DL and 2019 still looks like a steep climb into a stiff breeze. Allen should and will get five years minimum to win, but his on field results, especially with the decently full cupboard he was left, has been underwhelming.

    1. I can agree with about half of your assessment.

      The cupboard was closer to half full than “decently” full.

      Allen’s recruiting classes have improved each year and being 5th or 6th in the B1G East recruiting rankings isn’t bad when you’re still top 40 nationally. (Might have been 4th best if they counted Tuttle in the rankings)

      The O-Line has talent and experience. The D-Line has talent but not much experience.

      The results have been underwhelming but the build isn’t complete yet. I’m optimistic about 2019 but I’m more looking forward to 2020 when the build is complete and the schedule is more favorable.

    2. You have no clue about the roster he was left with especially with the major injuries that year. Wilson’s last few classes [this includes the 2017 class] were rated in the 50s. They weren’t strong classes nor a balanced roster; since this staff recruiting the classes have risen and will continue to rise this year. The OL and DL have young players that can play and are talented the lack of experience I will give you. Last year’s freshman playing showed talent on the DL, LB, and secondary. We will see if any of the freshman or sophomores they recruited will play in 2019.

  13. Fifth or sixth still means IU is looking up at most of their East colleagues, though, so it definitely matters. And the talent up front, particularly on offense, is very modest and would rank among the lowest in the BiG. Other than Cronk, none of the other OL would start elsewhere in the BiG. That shows how far they have to go.

    1. They’ve almost caught up to Sparty on the recruiting trail. I’m not going to say they’ll ever catch up to the likes of OSU, Mich, or Penn St in recruiting, but as long as IU can bring in top 40 classes, they’ll compete with those teams on the field.

      It’s hard to say at this point that Cronk would be the only guy who could start at another school. Besides Crider, the rest of the line are SRs. It’s likely that Stepniak, Littlejohn, or Love could start at another B1G school.

    2. BD,
      I don’t disagree with anything your saying, the real problem as it always has been, is Hoosier Nation’s support historically. TA has an extraordinarily difficult climb even for a seasoned HC, let alone one learning as he goes. I know there has been a lot of criticism about running with an HC choice without prior HC experience, but sometimes that is not always such a bad problem if you give them enough time. IUFB has gone with seasoned HCs before with at best, mixed results. The problem for Hoosier Nation has been if you want a seasoned HC with program changing capabilities on an expedited basis, you are going to have to shell out the bucks necessary to do so which Hoosier Nation has shown zero inclination of doing.

      I am blaming this on Hoosier Nation and not on the current AD or administration. You get the AD and university administration Hoosier Nation tolerates which translates into the caliber of coaching on the court or field. As long as TA shows he is learning from his mistakes you have to give him whatever time is needed to turn things around. Do you turn around 120 years of FB futility in 5 or 10 years?

      Has TA made his share of boneheaded decisions, of course, but what HC has not? The biggest problem I have seen with TA is not the decisions he has made, but rather that talent deficit he is trying to close. It is not easy to get quality talent to a school with as dismal a historical record as IU. Nothing is more telling of this than the talent deficit at a couple of extremely key positions which TA is in the process of closing. These large of gaps in talent don’t close overnight, especially when you have setbacks such as grad transfers not panning out and unfortunate injuries.

  14. No question Allen has improved recruiting, especially at quarterback, which is essential to winning with an otherwise mediocre level of talent on the roster. But while Allen may get five years as HC, that recruiting rock is likely to start rolling back down the hill if 2019 is another losing season. In this day of instant gratification, a head coach only gets so much time to build a football program before he starts losing credibility and his ability to recruit better talent evaporates. Regardless, no one should blame Tom Allen. This is all on Fred Glass.

    1. Po,
      As much as I agree that Glass has not been a great AD for IU, he is only the symptom not the root cause. It is not all on Fred Glass, it is all on Hoosier Nation which tolerates university administrations which give you Fred Glass. Until Hoosier Nation gets it’s act together, don’t expect much change in the university direction. TA is going in the right direction, but he needs time and lots of it. The only way to judge TA is continual forward progress, even if small.

      Yes, this is a day demanding instant gratification, but to have that there is always a price to pay. Hoosier Nation has always wanted to have it both ways, instant gratification but not willing to pay the price. It simply does not work that way and those who have tried to bend the rules, as a general rule, become examples of what not to do. Again, the biggest problem TA has had during his tenure is the talent deficit on the field. Everything else is secondary to this singular problem which has existed for a very long time prior to TA. Fortunately, TA is succeeding in addressing this issue, even in small steps, better than we could have imagined.

    2. Po you’ve have wore that argument out over the last 7 years. No happened yet. The fortune telling gig ain’t gittin it.

  15. Found this on the other site. Doesn’t sound like Williams is as committed as I hoped.
    “…Despite his bond with Indiana coaches, Williams said nothing is guaranteed until he signs a letter of intent in December.

    “As of now, my mind is made, but there’s no telling what the future holds,” he said. “Right now, I’m an Indiana Hoosier.”

    1. Unfortunately we are a long way from signing day. Nobody is a lock this early in the game. Hopefully he sticks but I’m not counting him in until he signs his LOI.

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