IU football coach Kevin Wilson is going nose-to-nose with the Big Ten's best, including Urban Meyer in recruiting.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bobby Petrino dominated the local
headlines when he agreed to become the Western Kentucky football coach Monday.
Last week was Charlie Strong Week after Strong said, "No,"
to Tennessee to remain with the Orange Bowl program that he has built at
Louisville. Mark Stoops has created a buzz with his arrival at Kentucky. Stoops
and his staff are eager to sell the Southeastern Conference experience – and
they're working hard at selling it in Louisville.
But two months from college football's national signing day,
there is an unexpected recruiting leader among the local schools, according to
the national analysts:
Kevin Wilson and his Indiana University staff.
Wilson and his assistants have already secured 18 oral
commitments, and they appear to be building the highest-ranked class the
Hoosiers have ever recruited.
The Hoosiers' potential class is ranked 45th
nationally by Rivals as well as by
247Sports. Scout.com puts the Indiana class at Number 51. In football,
IU's signing classes are typically ranked in the 70s or 80s.
On the field, IU increased its victory total from one to
four last season – and lost four games by a total of 10 points. Getting to six
victories and bowl eligibility will require major improvement on defense by Wilson's
team, which ranked last in the Big Ten and 116th in the nation in
rushing defense. But the Hoosiers have eight home games next season.
Recruiting rankings are debatable and easy to question. I do
it every year, preferring to evaluate the performance of classes as they are
leaving school. But the commitment board shows that Indiana has focused on
improving its defense.
IU has four prospects who have earned four-star recognition
form Rivals – three on defense.
Another way of evaluating a class is to look at the schools
Indiana was recruiting against for its commitments. Wilson's three top
defensive prospects appear to be Big Ten quality.
Defensive back Antonio Allen of Ben Davis High in
Indianapolis had offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Ole Miss, Kentucky,
Louisville, Cincinnati and others. Defensive end David Kenney (Pike High
School) decommitted from Iowa and had offers from Nebraska and Tennessee.
Massive defensive tackle Darius Latham decommitted from
Wisconsin. Latham, who is also considering a walk-on role with the IU
basketball team, had offers from Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame. He is 6 feet
5, pushing 300 pounds and likely to start from the first snap.
But remember: It's Dec. 12. Prospects cannot sign national
letters of intent until Feb. 6. There
will be more commitments – and de-commitments.
Louisville lags with only eight commitments. The Cards are
ranked 87st nationally by Rivals, 71st by Scout and 104th
by 24/7, trailing IU and UK across the board.
Stoops and his new staff are only getting warmed up at UK.
The Wildcats are listed with 14 commitments – if Stoops keeps all the players
who thought they would be playing for
Joker Phillips. Kentucky is ranked 61st by Rivals, 62nd by Scout.com and 70 by 24/7.
The coaching turnover situation is similar at Western.
Petrino takes over with nine guys who agreed to play for Willie Taggart. The
WKU class is ranked 81st by Rivals, 89th by Scout and No.
78 by 24/7.