2005 Recruiting Wrap Up

New Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner wanted to hit the ground running when he came to Indiana from Miami (OH), during the last week, he signed his first recruiting class that will kick-start his success. Hoeppner retained 10 of the 14 recruits that had committed under previous coach Gerry DiNardo, and added 14 of his own to round out the class.

The Hoosiers announced the first 23 members of their newest recruiting class on Wednesday at their National Signing Day Press Conference, and then their 24th recruit was announced Saturday from his church in Daytona, FL. The reason for the delay was the Hoosiers final recruit was highly rated LB/DE Matt Lewis. Lewis is ranked by ESPN as the 25th best DE in the nation, and by College Football News as the 39th best. Coach Hoeppner has said that he plans on having Lewis have a huge impact on the Indiana linebacking core, playing alongside Kyle Killion and Paul Szczesny.

For the remaining 23 scholarships, Hoeppner made his intentions with the Hoosiers very clear. With 5 wide receivers, 4 running backs, 3 tight ends, and 2 pure athletes, Indiana's newest coach has put a major emphasis on the skill positions. By recruiting very good athletes at the skill positions, Hoeppner gives the team more versatility, as many of the players have the ability to change positions easily. This is important for his spread offense that many players are able to fill many positions.

There are many highlights of the 2005 class, but one of the recruits that was most sorely needed is kicker Joe Kleinsmith from Lakewood, Ohio. The Hoosiers held off a late push by Ohio State to land the 3-star kicker, who should help the team immediately. The Hoosier kickers missed 5 extra points last season, and both kickers have now exhausted their eligibility. Kliensmith should add some stability to Indiana's special teams, and even has the athleticism to contribute at safety.

Hoeppner also landed a big recruit during the last week of recruiting in running back Bryan Payton. Payton had initially committed to North Carolina, but the offer went bad in the last two weeks, and Hoeppner swept in to fill the Fort Wayne native's dreams of college ball. Payton is rated as the 75th best running back in the nation by scout.com. The Hoosiers also picked up the 75th best DE in the nation in Jammie Kirlew from Orlando, FL. Kirlew was 2nd team all-state in Florida this year, and should provide help to the Hoosier defense either on the line or in the linebacking corps.

The state of Florida was good to Indiana on signing day, as the Hoosiers managed to pick up five recruits from the state of Florida, a hotbed for recruits. Five young men from the state of Indiana also decided to sign with the Hoosiers, but the most players came from the state of Ohio. Hoeppner's roots in Ohio as the former coach of Miami (OH) obviously helped, however most of the commits from Ohio recommitted to Indiana after DiNardo was fired. Indiana fans can only expect continued success in Ohio with the recruiting roads that come from their current batch of coaches.

Several of the recruits are hoping to see early playing time at Indiana, with several expecting to see some playing time in their first year in Bloomington. Hoeppner truly hit the ground running with his first class after being hired on December 17th. In just under a month on the road during recruiting, the Indiana staff was able to secure 14 commitments. The main positions not covered, however were quarterbacks and offensive linemen. Hoeppner felt there was no reason to take a quarterback just for the sake of having one and that there was enough O-line talent on the current team to wait until 2006 to acquire more. The new Indiana coach has excited the fan base with his new class and his new system. The current Hoosiers will get to work on making 2005 a great year when they begin Spring practice on March 22nd.

HoosierInsider will continue to bring you coverage of Signing Period 2005 with a breakdown of the entire class through the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for more coverage.

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