-(Updated to include the commitment of Alabama defensive lineman C.J. Person on Monday morning)-
The Crossroads of America is the official motto of the state of Indiana. While it wasn’t the inspiration for the state’s motto, the balance of college football power in Indiana may itself be at a crossroads.
History has shown that there may not be room for two good in-state public school programs at the same time. With Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State in the area and known to take their share of Indiana and midwestern talent, there just may not be enough left to support both Indiana and Purdue.
We are not saying that as though it is a fact, but there is at least some evidence to back up the notion. Take a look at this chart that shows the year by year win totals for IU and Purdue going back to the start of the Bill Mallory era:
For the most part, when one program is up, the other is down. When the lines intersect, a sea change is often underway. The lines intersected last year.
Recruiting isn’t the main reason why the chart looks this way. In the mid-80’s IU hired a transformational head coach in Mallory. In the mid-90’s Purdue hired a transformational head coach in Joe Tiller. Both coaches were able to change cultures, change hearts and minds, and change the standings.
As a result of that initial success, each program started winning the recruiting wars too. Once that happened, the transformation turned into an era.
It appeared to be that another transformational shift was underway with Kevin Wilson leading IU and Darrell Hazell at the helm of Purdue. Instead, both coaches were dismissed after the 2016 season, and now once again, the lines have intersected. Here we go again.
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm has the look of a transformational coach. Few would argue against that. Whether or not the Boilermakers can retain him is a question for another day — but that question exists because he is thought to be that good.
While he doesn’t have the same national reputation as Brohm, at least not as a head coach, Indiana’s Tom Allen has also done some pretty transformational stuff with Indiana’s defense. His passion and energy are second to none.
Is another decade long change in control under way, or is this a false start like we saw in 2010?
Both coaches seem to have what it takes to shift the balance of power in the state. It is possible of course that they can both be successful. With Indiana securing a significant portion of it roster through a strong Florida pipeline, maybe the significance of the programs competing against each locally for recruits has waned.
But you can only secure so much talent from hundreds of miles away. Someone is going to score a few top local players that will help to determine who rules the roost.
Both programs pulled of 2018 recruiting classes that have each team trending in the right direction. According to the 24/7 Sports composite, both secured top 50 classes, with national class rankings that were much higher than the previous year. Now, who is going to start stacking classes in order to generate the momentum that will result in sustained levels of success?
The 2019 Class is Starting to Take Shape
It is still early days as it relates to the college football class of 2019, but the commitments are starting to roll in.
Indiana only had two commits just a few weeks ago. Now it has seven, with two of the latest being key in-state targets.
Carmel, Indiana defensive end Beau Robbins committed to IU a couple weeks ago. He is IU’s only 4-star rated commit thus far. 3-star Indianapolis Decatur Central defensive back Larry Tracy committed over the weekend.
Also included in IU’s 2019 list of commits are Emery Williams, a 3-star wide receiver from North Carolina; Jeramy Passmore, a 3-star defensive end from Florida; Matthew Bedford, a 3-star tackle from Tennessee; Ivory Winters, a 3-star running back from Missouri; Michael Katic, a guard from Pennsylvania; and C.J. Person, a 3-star defensive lineman from Alabama.
Purdue has assembled a bigger class thus far, including the top rated player in the state — George Karlaftis, who hails from West Lafayette.
As it stands now, Purdue’s 2019 class ranks 8th in the Big Ten, and IU ranks 11th according to the 24/7 Sports composite.
The in-state names to watch as the 2019 class plays out are Warren Central’s David Bell, Andrean’s Cameron Williams, and Warren Central’s Justin Britt.
You can see the current commits, monitor IU’s progress with the 2019 class, and their place in the rankings here or via the recruiting menu above.
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