This week, we turn our attention to perennial B1G doormat, the Indiana Hoosiers. But could things be turning around in Bloomington? A few impressive recruits could provide a distraction at Indiana until basketball season begins, at least.
2011 Recap: At 1-11 overall and a big 0-8 in the B1G, Indiana has nowhere to go but up. The lone win for Kevin Wilson’s team was against FCS South Carolina State. Perhaps the low point was a 24-21 loss to North Texas. However, one bright spot may have been the somewhat emergence of freshman quarterback Tre Roberson. Roberson assumed control of the Hoosier offense in game 6 and amassed 937 yards passing and 426 yards rushing. However, Roberson’s youth showed in the fact that he had only three touchdowns and six interceptions though some of the responsibility for those dreadful statistics may be due in part to the dearth of talent around him. Indiana’s real deficit has been defense, particularly run defense. Indiana finished dead last in rushing defense (458.7 YPG). Moreover, Indiana’s scoring defense was horrendous, giving up 50 or more three times, enroute to a truly awful 37.3 ppg average.
Top Three: Nate Sudfeld-QB-6’5”, 220 lbs., Modesto, CA. To mix sports metaphors, a home run. At a large 6’5”, he has the ability to make all of the throws necessary. He can hit the corner fade route, which demonstrates touch. He can throw it long and can scramble enough to extend plays. The only negative, such as it is, is that his feet are not always set in the pocket, which can put some air under the ball, possibly leading to interceptions against some of the better secondary units in the B1G. That being said, Sudfeld is a legit, 4-Star (ESPN) quarterback prospect who, with the right talent, might be able to right the ship at Indiana.
Nick Mangieri-ILB-6’4”, 230, Dunlap, IN. Mangieri is a very good linebacker. A two-way standout in high school, Mangieri is slated to focus on the defensive side of the ball. For a larger guy, Mangieri has good quickness and has the ability to cover tight ends, running backs and the occasional slot receiver. Mangieri also has an incredible knack for disrupting passing lanes by getting his hands up. Mangieri can rush the passer and has the ability to penetrate the backfield on run plays and make the tackle unassisted.
Jordan Wallace-ILB-5’11”, 215 lbs., Indianapolis, IN. Wallace is a speedy playmaker, with a good nose for the football. Wallace is very good at playing the pass and has the speed to cover most of the tight ends and some running backs in coverage. However, Wallace does not play the run particularly well. He has the speed to meet most ball carriers at the point of attack, but does not generate enough power to be able to tackle many ball carriers by himself. Thus, while Wallace has all the tools to make an effective gunner on special teams or a nickel linebacker, he likely will not be an every down linebacker.
Overall analysis: The phrase “Nowhere to go but up” is entirely apropos in describing Indiana University Football and one recruiting class does not begin to turn that around. Overall, 12 of the team’s 17 incoming freshmen are slated to be on the offensive side of the ball. However, Indiana also added 6 JUCO transfers on the defensive side of the ball, which can only help the woeful Hoosier defense. While Indiana won’t be challenging for a B1G title anytime soon, their solid recruiting class (11 three star players, one four star) gives Hoosier gridiron fans hope for the future.
Overall grade for Indiana 2012 recruiting class: C