A few months ago the story on IU football recruiting was the rather peculiar situation where the Hoosiers were the only program in the Big Ten without a class of 2024 commit.
And that scenario brought to mind head coach Tom Allen in November laying bare the program realities in the name, image and likeness era of college football.
Relatively speaking, the IU football program doesn’t have a ton of money when it comes to NIL, and that appeared to be playing out in the program’s recruiting results.
After landing its best ratings era class ever in 2022 with most commits coming before NIL really took hold, IU’s 2023 class saw a considerable drop-off — from the 25th nationally to 69th according to the 247Sports Composite — and last in the Big Ten.
So what’s the story in the class of 2024?
Indiana has gone from zero commits to 15 in what seems like the blink of an eye, but in reality over the last few months.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Indiana’s current 15 class of 2024 commits give the program the nation’s 55th best recruiting class. That’s similar to their eight year average of 51st from 2014 to 2021.
In the Big Ten in 2024, the Hoosiers are 14th out of 16 in 2024 with USC and UCLA included in the conference beginning next year. The Hoosiers are ahead of just UCLA and Northwestern, and they are one of just two teams in the league without a 4-star recruit, along with Northwestern.
Team rankings are influenced by class size, as they reflect an aggregation of the total talent influx. We typically caution to ignore the raw rankings for that reason, and instead focus on the average player rating since programs all have different class size needs in a given year.
Unfortunately for IU, the story only gets worse when you assess their 2024 class based on average player rating. Indiana is 16th out of 16 in the Big Ten according to that measure. But it’s reasonable to wonder how meaningfully different IU’s average player rating of 85.62 is from the nine teams above them, all at 87.87 or lower. Ohio State’s league best is 93.34, for context. To some extent, everyone is picking at the scraps after the big dogs get theirs.
But it seems clear any recruiting momentum IU and Allen had a couple years ago has waned considerably.
It remains to be seen, however, whether it is time to sound the alarms.
After all, Allen’s best run at Indiana, a 14-7 stretch in 2019-20, was built mainly on players and classes that looked a lot like this 2024 bunch.
And of course ranking high school football prospects is far more art than science. Three of IU’s best recent vintage players, Micah McFadden, Ty Fryfogle, and Jaylin Lucas, were three of the program’s lowest rated recruits. And conversely, the program has seen more than a couple 4-star recruits flame out.
Moreover, a not insignificant part of IU’s roster is made up of transfers, and Allen has had greater recent success bringing in talent on that front. And that’s generally a bit more proven and seasoned talent. Indiana’s 2023 transfer portal haul ranked No. 18 nationally according to 247Sports.
But it does seem clear, in this new world of NIL, high school recruiting hasn’t gotten any easier for Allen and Indiana.
And that’s a place that, if nothing else, ought to feel familiar.
Because when it comes to football, it’s never been easy for Indiana.
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