Tom Allen says he never had to ask Jaylin Lucas if he got offers from other schools after his All-American freshman season.
“I knew he did,” Allen said on Thursday. “I was born at night but not last night. The tampering, it’s going on, and it’s bad.”
For years after seasons came to an end, one of the first things Allen did was hop on planes to make recruiting visits.
But following the 2022 campaign, Allen took a re-recruiting trip.
Tabbed a first-team All-America kick returner by CBS Sports, Pro Football Focus, Walter Camp and USA Today, Lucas likely could have played for any team in the country in 2023. And he probably could have named his NIL number.
So Allen headed to Louisiana.
“I knew what I had to do,” Allen said. “If we don’t do anything with it, we’re going to lose him. That’s the new world that we’re in right now.
“The season ended, as soon as we were done, I made a home visit to his house. Because I knew how special he was. I flew down there and met with his parents.
“Usually you do that for recruits. You do in home visits for recruiting. Well, we had to make sure the he knew that we were going to do a great job of rewarding him for being a first team All-American. That’s pretty special as a true freshman, that doesn’t happen very often.”
Lucas was originally committed to Tulane before Indiana discovered him late in the class of 2021 and gave him a Power Five conference opportunity before the early signing period.
Both IU and Lucas have benefitted significantly from the decision to flip his commitment.
Back in January I asked Lucas why he chose to return to Indiana rather than evaluate his options in the transfer portal.
“I feel like here in Indiana, it’s just all love,” Lucas said. “I’m really not worried about the portal right now. I just feel like this is the best fit for me, and I can see myself just building a legacy here in Indiana. … I just love Coach Allen.”
That all sounds good. And perhaps Lucas would have stayed at Indiana anyway.
But Allen had to be sure. That’s the new reality.
So he hopped on the plane.
Now Lucas enters his sophomore season at IU expected to be the centerpiece of the IU offense and special teams.
And he’ll be able to do it with his family a little more comfortable at home.
“He’s able to do some things that are really helping his family,” Allen said. “And they’re really good people. It’s been a huge blessing for them.
“To see him stay the course with us, it means a lot.”
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