Tom Allen Has an Opportunity to Change the IU Football Narrative This Weekend

Football programs aren’t transformed overnight.

We know what you are thinking.  And, no, with back to back 6-6 seasons, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm hasn’t transformed anything.  Not yet anyway.  He’s just been better than IU.

The only difference between Brohm and IU head coach Tom Allen has been a couple seven point games.  Well, that and several million a year.  But hey, you take a million per win if someone is willing to pay for it, right?

In all seriousness, of course Brohm is a good coach, but the reason he said he came back to Purdue is to finish what they started.  In other words, while trending in the right direction, they haven’t transformed the program.  It takes time.

What really transforms football programs?  Good coaching of course.  But just as, if not more important, is talent.  Stacked on talent.   Stacked on talent.

Allen’s first recruiting class in 2018 was a success on paper with a top 50 ranking — one of, if not the best for the Hoosiers in the recruiting class rankings era.  That 2018 class was probably even better on the field.

With 17 true freshmen seeing action, and some, like Stevie Scott, Devon Matthews, Reese Taylor, Cam Jones, Micah McFadden, Ronnie Walker, Jaylin Williams and Michael Penix playing big roles, it’s clear that IU has a coaching staff that can develop the talent once it arrives.

That was just year one with guys that signed up to play for Allen.

As it stands now, year two is on track to be better.  The Hoosiers have a group of verbal commits that have put Indiana inside the top 40 nationally.

This weekend, the 2019 recruiting class has the potential to really make waves.  With the talent headed to Bloomington, the narrative around this program could quickly change from another ho-hum 5-7 season, to “wow, Tom Allen really has things going at Indiana.”

According to the recruiting service 247Sports, the following recruits that are not already verbally committed to IU are scheduled to be in Bloomington this weekend:

  • David Bell — A 4-star wide receiver from Indianapolis, Bell is the headliner of the weekend.  Indiana is competing with the likes of Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue.  With two other in-state 4-star recruits already committed (Sampson James, Beau Robbins), could Bell be compelled to be a part of the transformation? It can’t hurt that he would have the chance to play with an exciting young talent like Penix, who will come back next year as a freshman.
  • Kristian Williams — A 4-star defensive tackle from Memphis, Tennessee.  This one could be down to IU and Minnesota.  The Hoosiers can offer a fairly quick path to playing time on their defensive line.
  • Cameron Williams — A 4-star linebacker from Merrillville, Indiana.  While 247Sports “Crystal Ball” picks generally don’t mean much, when there is a wave of picks towards a player it catches our eye.  Williams has rode the crystal ball wave to Indiana over the last couple weeks.  Purdue and Cincinnati are also in the mix.
  • Danielson Ike — A 3-star offensive lineman from Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Dorian Jones — A 3-star linebacker from Florida.
  • Nicolas Toomer — A 3-star cornerback from Georgia.
  • Everitt Cunningham — A 3-star defensive end from Mississippi.
  • Blake Bedier — A 3-star JUCO offensive tackle.
  • Reggie Todd — A 3-star wide receiver from Mississippi.

The potential will be on campus this weekend to put something really special together.

If the stars aligned and all three of the four star recruits visiting this weekend signed with Indiana, it would move the 2019 class to around 25th nationally, right around the same area as Michigan State and Wisconsin.  None of the three four stars are unrealistic, with Indiana probably having the most work to do with Bell.

Of course football recruiting can be crazy this time of year, so projecting how classes will compare can be a fool’s errand.  A lot will change between now and when commitments become signatures.

But Indiana won’t have to wait long to start getting answers.  The first day recruits will be able to sign their national letters of intent is Dec. 19, and the early signing will end Dec. 21.

Both Williams are expected to commit and sign during the early period.  Bell is on a bit longer timeline.  He is expected to commit at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, January 5.

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