After a program best ever No. 36 in the country recruiting class of 2019, the Hoosiers have dropped thus far to around No. 49 (according to the 247Sports Composite) with its class of 2020 after the first day of the early signing period.
After the program’s first eight win season since 1993, how could this be?
There is a lot more that goes into a class than just the number that gets spit out by a recruiting service algorithm.
First, much of Indiana’s 2020 group had been assembled before IU became bowl eligible, and certainly before win number eight was achieved.
Second, class size matters. While the team ranking computations take into account, and attempt to mitigate the impact of varying class sizes, the fact that IU has only 19 signees in its 2020 class vs. 22 in 2019 matters.
Finally, there is a slight drop-off in talent in Indiana’s aggregate 2020 haul vs. 2019, but you’ll have to decide for yourself just how significant it really is.
247Sports says that the average player rating of Indiana’s 2020 class is .8486 (out of 1.0). Compare that to an average rating of .8577 for the 2019 class.
Does that .0091 drop-off really equate to anything significant on the football field?
Maybe, maybe not.
The more likely answer is that variables like program, culture, and scheme trump such relatively minor differences.
BUT THAT BIG TEN THOUGH
“The best day that the Big Ten has had since the network has been here.”
That’s what BTN host Mike Hall said on the air on Wednesday night after the league placed 10 of its 14 teams in the top 40 in the 247Sports team rankings.
While Indiana’s drop in the overall rankings doesn’t seem terribly significant, the fact remains that IU currently stands at No. 12 in the Big Ten when it comes to its 2020 class ranking.
TWO MORE OPEN SPOTS
Another reason to not dwell too much on the team rankings is that Indiana is not finished with its efforts to fill out the 2020 class.
Head coach Tom Allen said on Wednesday that there are still openings for the right fit.
“I would say as you go through, you look, we have two spots available, which is kind of what you like to have, some wiggle room with that, Allen said.
“I would say definitely looking for a rush end, a priority for us, to continue and pursue that position. I would say best available on offense. That would be the way I would describe that. Could be a variety of positions, game-changer tight end, a dynamic running back, dynamic receiver, have to get the ball in his hands.
“You don’t have a whole lot of spots, but to be able — if you say we were looking for something like that, if you find that, we’d be interested for sure. We’ll be looking at those types of options.”
NINE COMING IN JANUARY
A growing trend in college football is for recruits to enroll on campus early in January rather than waiting until the summer. This provides the opportunity to get into the school’s training program and participate in spring practice.
Allen expects more players than ever during his tenure to enroll in January.
“First of all, we have the opportunity to have nine of these guys be midyear guys, which would be a record number since I’ve been here,” Allen said. “We’ll get that list finalized, make that public later. At the same time that gives them a tremendous advantage.”
Allen believes that January enrollment can be the difference between a freshman being ready to play or not in year one.
When senior offensive tackle Coy Cronk went down with a season ending injury, true fresman Matthew Bedford was ready to step in and he performed well.
Bedford was a January enrollee.
“That goes into the next part of your question of who can come in and make a difference, have an opportunity to help us earlier. I think that opportunity, Matt Bedford would be an example of that, came at midyear a year ago. It was the difference in him being ready when called upon to be able to play. Probably wouldn’t have been ready had he not had that opportunity,” Allen said.
Because of a unique rule related to bowl game practices, one player will even be able to join the IU program briefly in December.
“(Carmel, Ind. linebacker) Ty Wise is going to be one of those, he’ll be with us here this weekend, start with us, Allen said. “He can be with us for the three days. It can only happen on campus. Once we go to the bowl site, we can’t do that. Have had a few that have done that in the past.”
A MOMENTARY PAUSE IN THE FLORIDA PIPELINE?
With 26 players on the IU roster hailing from Florida, the Sunshine State has been a significant part of Allen’s success story in 2019.
The season will culminate with the program’s first ever appearance in Florida for a bowl game when the Hoosiers play at The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on Jan. 2.
With all of the feel good Florida vibes, one might have expected another strong year of landing players from the southern state, but as it has turned out thus far, Indiana has no signees from Florida in its 2020 class.
Allen doesn’t believe there is cause for concern.
“Probably just coincidental,” Allen said. “You have a bunch of guys we recruited down there. We’ll keep going down there in Phase II, in January. Happened to be that way. We obviously have a whole bunch on our roster. I’m sure we’ll have some here in the future.
“Obviously (Florida) always going to be a huge priority for us. Got nine different states represented. Got guys from all across the country. The bottom line is we’re going to go where we got to go to find the best fit, the guys that end up signing with us, want to be here. Florida is always going to be a priority.”
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