Football Recruiting Heats UpIt took awhile for Coach Kevin Wilson to gain some recruiting traction this year, but he's making up for lost time now. June has been a good month for the Hoosiers as they recently secured their eighth commitment for the Class of 2012. In a matter of just two weeks the Hoosiers have collected eight commitments and gained some impressive talent. A lot of the success is directly attributable to the camps the Hoosiers have hosted this month. Now the Hoosiers are riding a wave of momentum that still hasn't crested. Here's a quick look at the recent haul:
Alex Todd – 6-foot-3, 285 pound defensive tackle – Streetsboro, OH
Nick Mangieri – 6-foot-5, 230 pound outside linebacker – Dunlap, IL
Dan Feeney – 6-foot-4, 270 pound offensive guard – Orland Park, IL
Dawson Fletcher – 6-foot, 180 pound safety – West Chester, OH
Caleb Cornett – 6-foot-3, 175 pound wide receiver – Indianapolis, IN
Mike Cotton – 6-foot-3, 210 pound outside linebacker – O'Fallon, IL
Jordan Wallace – 6-foot-1, 215 pound middle linebacker – Indianapolis, IN
Kevin Davis – 5-foot-11, 170 pound wide receiver – Indianapolis, IN
The Hoosiers got some big men out of their successful linemen camp earlier this month that should serve them well. Most promising, though, is the progress they are making in Indianapolis and at Warren Central High School in particular. That program has long been the most dominant football factory in the state and the Hoosiers have had trouble maintaining a steady flow of prospects out of the nearby school. With the commitment of Davis and Wallace the Hoosiers hope they are starting a powerful pipeline.
Don't Count Kiel OutThe thought of the de factor No. 1 quarterback in the country picking the Hoosiers over basically every other program in the country is a tough concept for many to get their head around. The Hoosiers' lackluster history and fifth new head coach in the last eleven years suggest that Indiana would be looking for diamonds in the rough at quarterback…not the Hope Diamond of the 2012 recruiting class—Gunner Kiel.
But Kiel says anyone discounting the Hoosiers' chances in his recruitment aren't doing their homework. His extremely close relationship with his brother and current Hoosier quarterback Dusty, Coach Kevin Wilson's track record of developing quarterbacks (i.e. Sam Bradford), and Memorial Stadium's proximity to his Columbus, Indiana home have all added up to make the Hoosiers a serious contender for the five-star senior. If you still have trouble believing it, take it from Kiel himself, who recently told the Indianapolis Star his thoughts on becoming a Hoosier.
"I've heard people say, 'Why Indiana?' " Kiel told the Star's Kyle Neddenriep. "My answer is, 'Why not Indiana?' Coach Wilson was very important in Sam Bradford's development and he has top-notch assistants who have come in from other successful programs. It could be like Oklahoma, just an hour away from home."
Kiel has taken visits to Oklahoma, Alabama, and Indiana and has a visit to Missouri scheduled this month as well. A decision is expected sometime in the next few weeks.
Cheaney makes triumphant return to IUSince his arrival in Bloomington three years ago, Coach Tom Crean has worked tirelessly to re-unite a fractured fan base and rekindle the program's proud tradition. He's also struggled to find success in the Big Ten conference with his young teams. His latest move may go a long way towards accomplishing both goals.
The hiring of former Hoosier great Calbert Cheaney as the team's new Director of Basketball Operations looks like an all-out coup. Cheaney's playing background and NBA coaching experience make him a very qualified hire for the position, but it's his storied history with the Hoosier program that make this such a wonderful fit. There may be no more beloved player in Hoosier circles right now.
But it's not just a feel good move. By hiring Cheaney the team adds someone who knows what it takes to be successful in the Big Ten better than perhaps anyone. He remains the conference's all-time leading scorer after being a three-time All-American and Wooden and Naismith award winner under Coach Bob Knight in the early 90s. That experience, and the knowledge that developed from it, will now be shared with young Hoosier players that desperately need the guidance on what it means to truly compete every night.
Cheaney's M.O. will be hammering home to his players the type of dedication and drive it takes to be successful in this game. IU has often seen its effort and focus drift in and out during conference play, so Cheaney's message is a much-needed one. With several talented young players coming into the program over the next few years Indiana seems poised to have its best teams since the early 90s. It's only fitting that Cheaney, the undeniable star of that era, will be there to help mold them into winners.