Football

    Coach Wilson Talks to the Media About Signing Class

    Go Hoosiers! Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson took time to speak with the media on Wednesday about the 2011 Indiana football recruiting class.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson took time to speak with the media on Wednesday about the 2011 Indiana football recruiting class.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 2, 2011

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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson took time to speak with the media on Tuesday about the 2011 Indiana football recruiting class. A transcript is below.

    Opening statement:
    "We got 21 in, which was kind of what we thought from the last few days. Nine on offense, 12 on defense, so a little balance across the board. Big guys, skill guys, mid-skill guys, so I don't think by any means that's by design, but it is how it played out.

    "I don't think its top heavy or slanted towards one side or the other. We got four big guys up front, three receivers, a running back, and a quarterback. We don't have a tight-end in the mix but we have five already here so that wasn't necessarily a priority. We didn't really look at one late.

    "Defensively, we ended up with 12, four up front as d-line players. We'll be playing a four man scheme. You never know how guys are going to mature and fill out. We have four defensive linemen, three linebackers and five in the back end.

    "A lot of the in-state guys stayed with us. We actually reached out to a lot of the in-state kids that were committed to other places to see if they would have interest. As a state institution, we can provide a great education. We think with the energy and the commitment we have to the football program, we can also provide a great athletic opportunity. We did reach out to guys that were committed elsewhere with the coaching change. We are trying to build relationships with coaches in state. We'd like for the in-state kids and those coaches to give us a good chance this season and the years to come to actively recruit those guys. We will work hard in-state. That doesn't mean we will take every guy or we will like every guy, but we really challenge our in-state players and coaches to give the state school a chance to get them down here to show them what we have down here at Indiana because we think it's a great place.

     

     

    "I do think the state school can provide some opportunities that no other institution can, no matter what state you live in. We will sell that hard to our in-state guys. We did reach out to some guys and didn't really get anywhere. I felt a little bit like we showed up at the dance when they were playing the last song and a lot of the dates were already taken, so we didn't get a lot of guys to dance with us. I think our coaches had some good ties, got into some guys, and I think we identified some guys that we liked. I don't know if we got into some guys late that I would call finished, polished products, but they are a nice piece of clay. They have the skill level, the frame, the size. They appear to all be character, quality kids and students. I think they fit the mold and brand of our school. At the same time, some guys that were basketball players, first year playing football, transferring from this school to that school and maybe under the radar. I think our coaches did a great job and I appreciate and thank them for what they did because they've worked it hard. The last couple of weeks have been hectic and I think they did a great job getting on some quality kids, getting some kids in and we were able to land some kids late.

    "In the Big Ten you are allowed to oversign by a couple spaces. That means if no one leaves the program, or medically injured or academically ineligible, then technically they would come mid-year. But each year as you go through, guys jump into the league going pro, guys transferring, injuries that become a medical scholarship. Typically there are spaces that open up. So every Big Ten school can technically go over by a couple. We actually have a couple in our back pocket, but we're not in any hurry to distribute those to anyone right now. Recruiting is a lot like investing. We don't need to make a poor investment. If the market and prices aren't good, granny used to bury her money in the backyard. So we can just throw it in the coffee can and we'll use it next year to make a better investment.

    "If we can find something late we will. But don't think some last minute recruit that doesn't meet the profile or has issues is going to be in recruiting.

    "Good class, solid class. I appreciate the way the thing came together. Maybe we'll add here late, but there is no panic or anything imminent here in the days and weeks to come.

    "Offensive line - we have four guys. Peyton Eckert is a big young man out of Chicago that plays offensive guard. About 6-6, 300 pounds, good feet. He had several offers and visits late. We are excited to have him in here. He has the frame to play outside but has played more inside. He is actually interested in being a center, but we will see if he is a center or guard.

    "Ralston Evans who is already in school, he started mid-year from up in Indianapolis. He is doing very well in transitioning. When we are out there doing workouts, he blends in and looks like one of the guys. He has gotten off academically well with his classwork.

    "David Kaminski is a young man we got on late with Peyton Eckert. David's out of Strongsville, Ohio. He is a really nice looking kid, broad shoulders, good frame and a very good-looking kid. He injured a knee last spring, with a torn ACL playing basketball. He is an athletic big kid that weighed about 220 a couple years ago. Now he is going to be a 300-pounder, looks like the center or guard position. He was a bit under recruited because of the knee injury. He came back and started playing the fourth game. We had him checked out with our medical staff and he was cleared. Good looking knee and body, and a little bit under recruited due of the injury and so many commitments. I'm kind of excited about him. We'll see if he pans out.

    "Greg Lewis, the big young man out of Miami bounced around four different high schools in four years. His mom has moved him from place to place to get him in a better environment. He is right now at the Catholic school, Chaminade-Madonna, which is a very good program in south Fort Lauderdale. He is a very big, athletic, 6-5, 300-pounder. So four big guys up front.

    "At wide receiver, we have two guys that committed early. Cody Latimer I really like. He is an athletic, big kid out of Dayton, Ohio. He is probably one of the physically most impressive bodies and athletes in the class. I am very excited to work with him. He has the flexibility to play many spots offensively or defensively. He is just a great looking athlete. I think he was MVP last year of the state basketball tournament when they won the state championship at Jefferson over in Dayton.

    "Jay McCants is another basketball kid. He is a tall 6-4 kid from Princeton High School in the Cincinnati area - athletic, good ball skills, long and rangy. Those two guys fit the profile of our previous receivers. I actually think we are tall and long. We looked late for some quickness and a little bit more change of direction instead of the long-striders.

    "That being said, we were able to get in late on a kid out of Ohio, Shane Wynn, who is a very dynamic, smaller guy. He is a great returner, great in space and does have some substance for a smaller guy with big hands, big boned, strong kid. A 5-7 guy with a great change of direction out of a great program and we are very excited to get him. We think he brings something we needed. He brings a little more quickness and a little guy in the slot to give us some juice.

    "At running back, we have D'Angelo Roberts from in town. He's been with us for quite a while. You guys know him well. He plays in space and had a lot of stats these last few years. I'm pleased to have him as a local guy.

    "As is Tre Roberson, a quarterback who I think acts like a quarterback, talks like a quarterback and seems to have natural leadership skills. I know he can run well, but I think he throws the ball very well so I'm excited about his future as a QB.

    "Defensively we have four guys up front. We've got Adarius Rayner starting as a defensive end, a kid out of Tampa, Fla. We had some coaches with some ties to that area that allowed us to get in on him. He does have the frame to grow into a bigger position, but we'll look at him as a d-end as we will with Jake Reed from Columbus North.

    "Jake's a very physical, solid, excellent player that can provide some much needed help at the end position. Those two guys will start there. I'm very pleased with Jake and getting in on Adarius Rayner late was a positive deal for us.

    "Bobby Richardson from Tampa Plant. He transferred from Tampa Tech to Tampa Plant, so one year in a great program but a little under the radar. He's big boned, 6-3, 275, athletic, big body to go with Bernard Taylor who we thought was one of the best big guys in the class. Two inside guys, two outside guys, I'm really pleased with Bernard and stumbling into Bobby.

    "We have some decent inside players with (Adam) Replogle and (Nicholas) Sliger and all those guys getting to the end of their careers, so we need to get the next core guys like those guys and two defensive ends.

    "We have three linebackers, Mike Replogle, Kyle Kennedy from in-state, from Cathedral. Can be a Mike or Sam guy on the outside in our 4-3 scheme. Same with Mike Replogle, the third Replogle to play here. He's a tough kid from Centerville. He's a very natural backer and we're pleased to have him. The way his brothers have played, I'm sure his pedigree will give him a chance to be another solid IU player for us.

    "And the last one, Zack Shaw is probably the most athletic of those guys and receives the most notoriety. But all three are rock solid and we need all three. Zack is one of the more published guys but sometimes recruiting is blown up, these other two are good as well.

    "In the secondary, at corner we have Kenny Mullen, an in-state kid from Bishop Luers. Another great program. We are very happy to have Kenny with us. He is a smaller guy, but a very strong guy with substance, strength and quickness. He is a basketball player, with a good change of direction, can jump, plays big, good returner. We need help at the corner position, so we are happy to have him.

    "We found Michael Hunter late. He is another basketball player that transferred from a smaller school to one of the better programs in Louisiana, West Monroe. They got beat in the state championship down there. Personally, I and several coaches have been in that school and know it. His dad is the basketball coach, a coach's kid, great student but a lot of range and athleticism. He's a basketball kid learning how to be a corner. He has a chance to be a really, really good player.

    "Nick Stoner is another local guy from Center Grove. He is very fast and will probably be the state 100-meter champion in Indiana. He has the speed to play corner but maybe the frame if he grows in a year down the road to play safety. We do need help at the corner spot though, so we will start Nick there and see how that plays out.

    "The last two guys in the back, first we have Mark Murphy. He is from Akron, a big-boned safety and running back. Like Jake Reed, he is one of the physically more natural, tough, hard-nosed players, so I'm excited to have him at safety.

    "And finally Forisse Hardin, who's brother Drew plays here. Forisse is out of Louisville. He will be a safety, one of those hybrid big safeties or nickelback types.

    "Five guys on the back end, three backers, four guys up front, 12 on the defense. Good guys, some guys I think have more athleticism and potential so I am excited to work with that. Some other guys are great players with a blend of Indiana, a blend of the Midwest, and a couple guys we got in on late."

    On the challenge of getting a late start:
    "In my situation, I didn't get a staff in here early to go recruiting, because I thought to give our team a direction for the winter break and recruit our own team and not talk about four and five years from now but talk about these seniors and this team. We really didn't get into recruiting strong until after the holiday season. Of course by then, there is so much commitment, there is of course not a lot of movement. We were able to stumble into some guys. We really didn't start pursuing a lot of new guys until the middle of January. We did try to go and see what was there. Myself, I didn't leave recruiting until January. I was here Dec. 7. The first thing for me was to direct our team and second to get a staff together and then go recruiting.

    "I do appreciate those that listened to us sell our school, sell our pitch, sell our program. I think the coaches did a great job. We were all over the place, flying around, using contacts. I am excited about our staff. We've got some guys that not only are great recruiters but are well connected. They know people, people they can trust, and we got some good leads on some guys. Some guys never came to fruition and never even really got on the radar, but some guys that we were networking to reach out to. Excited now that this is over. We've got a full year to really evaluate, really sell our brand of what we're trying to be and see where we can go in the years to come. I think the guys did a great job and I appreciate the kids that listened to what our school can sell and what we're trying to do."

    On his redshirting philosophy and which signees might see the field this season:
    "My thing is competition is a great deal. We work awfully hard. We can redshirt all we want. High schools have 100 guys with a freshman team, a JV team and a varsity team. We have one team. When you are getting up every day and running and lifting and practicing hard, harder than you've ever done and are getting asked to stay in the summer and you never play it is frustrating. I have never made a guarantee to any of these guys that they are going to play. I guarantee that we're going to put some good people around them and academically put everything in front of them to get their degree. Football comes back on them, so we're not guaranteeing anybody that they're going to play, but my goal is every freshman plays until he shows he can't. That increases competition. I think it increases their ability as they play. Athletically they are doing well. I think socially they do better. I think academically they do better. They are players and players like to play, so we've challenged them all to do everything they can.

    "If you're going to play as a freshman, it is 48 months, it is actually 46 or 47 now, and your career in college is done. They've got February, March, April, May and most of June, that is four months, that is one-twelfth of your college career. If you're college career was a year, that is January. But, they are in high school, so what are you doing in January to get ready for your college career, and I'm saying January as a four-month period. My deal is we challenge each of those guys if you want to play, coaching change so these guys are older but how much do they know the system, how much further are they? We need competition, we need special teams help. So, get yourself ready and see if you can play. Would love to play them all, but we'll see. At Oklahoma last year, we played nine guys, on offense. One of the reasons was we thought offseasons went better, summers went better, practices were better when kids played. But if a kid can't play, we're not going to waste a year."

    On what he looks for in offensive and defensive linemen:
    "As much as anything, you're looking for a body type. We're probably going to be more of a four-man front than a three-man defensively, whereas I think last year as the year had played out, the previous staff was looking at a three-man front with nose guards and defensive tackles or d-ends. We're looking at d-tackles and wider ends, so you're looking at an end that is a little bit more in space or a d-tackle that is a different body over guard as far as size. To some degree, different size defensively or speed on the edge.

    "Offensively, we can make a lot about height, but height is overrated. It is how your bone or your girth is to carry weight, to be a 290- to 300-pound kid. With that can you bend, do you show quickness, athleticism, do you play hard? There are a lot of big guys that just stand around because they are kind of big and lazy. To me you're looking for a guy that will block somebody. A lot of times, you see a big guy and you see him run. We had a kid a couple years back that was a second-round pick and everyone talked about how great his feet were and I was like well he never blocks anybody. He runs right by them. Everybody is like 'wow, look at his feet,' but he doesn't block anybody. How about blocking? He actually turned into a great pro player, but when he was young everyone was mesmerized by his feet. To me, from an offensive side, we were looking for guys that blocked. Defensively, some bigger guys.

    "It was late, so I don't know that every body type is perfect. I do think that we do have some frame-girth. We do have some kids that can add the size we need and substance. I was impressed with the quickness of the big guys both offensively and defensively. I thought we had kids because the game is played with foot speed."

    On how he sold his prior coaching successes to recruits:
    "We didn't say that, but we just said our track record is we've done a good job in the past with developing players, and if we're going to be good as a program here, we've got to develop players. Not only do we like your talent and potential as a piece of clay we want to work with, if you don't want to work hard, if you don't want to go to class, if you don't want to do things the right way, this is not a good fit.

    "We want guys that really want to be good players. The talent of being a good player is called working hard. So we expressed that. If you want to be good, you've got a chance but you've got to come in and work hard. Everyone talks about that but that is a key talent and a key ingredient. Next thing is, are you going to be a guy going to class and doing things the right way because we're going to conduct business the proper way. Kids are going to make mistakes and we all do, but we're going to be guys of character, go to class and work hard and when it comes to time go out here, we're going to get a 4.0 on the field too.

    "We're going to enjoy coming into the weight room, and we're going to enjoy winter workouts because that is a part of the process that we need to win. We really tried to sell our process in the way we want to develop. Yes, we've done it in the past, but here is how it worked for these guys. They had the talent, they were a nice piece of clay, but they bought into the process and it was a two-way street. So, we've tried to educate these guys on we're going to give some things for you and we need you to be all in to help us out too."

    On getting Shane Wynn late in the game:
    "It was kind of late, but I think he had done some research and kind of liked some of the things we had done and some of the roles and saw some similarities. I didn't sell that much, he was already sold on it himself. I think Coach (Mike) Ekeler, who was up at some of those Northeast schools, just connected and did a great job. Mike having played against us knew our offense from a defensive side and said `hey look, they're going to do this and this and this and here is where you fit.' I think Mike had him sold before he got here, so we were very grateful for the job he did.

    "The kid has some explosiveness and he is a small guy, but he has some charm and charisma. He is going to be a guy around this program that you guys are going to like. He has a look in his eye and he has got some gleam. So you guys are going to like talking to him in the years to come. We were very lucky and kind of fit something we needed. It is kind of a two-way street. I think he saw that our system could be a good fit for him and in my world he was uniquely a good fit for something we needed. I'm kind of grateful he came our way."

    On the lack of a kicker or punter in the class:
    "We're going to go for it on fourth down. The defense has promised shutouts and we're going for it. No, we didn't find any late. Maybe we can compliment in state. We are not allowed to recruit walk-ons, but it is a state school. If we do things right, there are going to be some kids in state that are going to be interested in our school. I walked on in college and earned a scholarship. My tight end last year at Oklahoma was a walk-on. We played seven linemen, one was a walk-on. Would love to have some walk-ons.

    "Sometimes your snappers and your kickers and punters, you can entice yourself, especially when you're a state school and kids are attracted to your school academically and financially. It is not that bad of a deal for the price. So maybe we can get a walk-on potentially late, if we get into spring. I haven't evaluated them yet. If I really think they're struggling as we start kicking, if we do find a body late, we do have one in hand and we could go that way, but right now we're going to evaluate and do the best we can with the walk-on situation and do the best we can at it next year."

    On if there are any spots that weren't addressed in the class:
    "It is pretty balanced. There were a couple of guys down the stretch that if we could've landed it would've been nice. Nothing against them. Your prayer is to bring the guys here that we're supposed to work with, if they're supposed to be with us because it is a two-way street. I'm glad with the guys we got, proud of them and thankful we got them. I thought we needed some defensive line help, especially with some juniors leaving and out on the edge. I thought we needed some secondary speed. I would've taken another quick receiver if I would've found a guy or got a guy. As late as it was, no real regrets right now."

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