With the clock ticking toward the February 2nd national signing day, the Indiana University football team has a class, on paper that is rated more highly than any in recent memory. Almost all of the 18 player commitments were in place prior to new head coach Kevin Wilson taking over the reigns, but credit him and his staff with keeping those who pledged. We’ll provide an overview of the class in this story, then highlight several of the featured recruits in upcoming articles.
The standouts appear to be four star players Zack Shaw, a 6’3” 218 lb. linebacker from Coshocton, Ohio and athlete Raymon Taylor, 5’10” 167 lbs. from Highland Park High School in Detroit. Taylor, however, is a soft verbal who wavered after the firing of former IU coach Bill Lynch. Taylor visited Michigan and could still have the Wolverines on his radar with the recent hiring of Brad Hoke to replace Rich Rodriguez. Keeping Taylor in the Indiana stable represents Wilson’s first recruiting test as the Hoosiers boss.
Indiana should also receive notable contributions from versatile quarterback Tre Roberson, who led his high school squad to the Indiana 5A (largest class) state championship game and was named Mister Football (top player in the state award). Roberson is an athletic playmaker who can hurt teams with either his arm or legs. Somewhat overlooked by the recruiting services but wiry strong at 6’1” 170 lbs., he could push for playing time his freshman season with Ben Chappell graduated and no clear-cut successor in place.
Other in-state commits who could impact include 6’4’ 231 lb. tight end Jake Reed from Columbus North H.S., 6’1” 170 defensive back Nick Stoner from traditional power Center Grove, and raw but developing Ralston Evans, a 6’4” offensive line prospect from Indianapolis Arlington. Bloomington North High School running back D’ Angelo Roberts is talented, but an alleged New Year’s eve incident clouds his commitment. Roberts future is an interesting storyline to signing day’s homestretch.
Overall, new IU coach Kevin Wilson can feel positive about his initial class, though he had little to do with the recruitment. With a late start to the process and still in the midst of completing his staff, Wilson can’t be expected to add much more talent for 2011. The overall talent level in the state has improved immeasurably in the last decade, but IU has struggled to keep the elite players in state. His real opportunity to make inroads starts now, with a goal to keep the top prospects home in 2012.