With a few holes to fill at the linebacker position with the departure of seniors John Pannozzo, Kyle Killion and Josh Moore, the Indiana coaching staff is searching far and wide to fill the gaps.
One target to appear on the Hoosier radar is 6-1, 220-pound Julius Howard of Irving (Texas) Nimitz H.S., who is projected as a linebacker at the college level but can also play safety.
"Most schools are recruiting me for linebacker," said Howard. "But there are a few that would want me to play safety. There are a few Division II schools that want me at running back still. Indiana said I could play linebacker or a strong safety/linebacker position."
Among the schools looking for his services are Indiana, Duke, Baylor, Kansas State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington State, Texas Tech and Texas-El Paso. Of those schools, only UTEP has been able to bring the Texan to campus for an official visit thus far.
"So far I've only gone to UTEP and I'm going to Texas Tech later this week. I don't have anything else planned after that," said Howard. "I enjoyed my trip to UTEP. I liked the coaches up there a lot. They said I should be able to play soon and that's what I'm looking for.
"I want to know if they plan on playing me or making me redshirt my first year because I want to play my freshman year. So far UTEP, Kansas State, Indiana and Iowa have said I have the best chance of playing early. Minnesota wanted me at DB, but they have a lot of guys there already. They have too many recruits."
Howard expects more trips in his future – although he does not know when or where. He is considering a visit in Bloomington to see the Hoosiers.
"I plan on making two more trips in January and make my decision after that," said Howard. "A few schools still want me to visit. I'm still looking at Indiana. I talked to the offensive line coach (Bobby Johnson) today. He's been the one in charge of my recruiting there."
Howard played both ways this season for Nimitz and put up impressive numbers. Howard racked up 107 tackles his senior season, including 10 for loss with seven sacks, along with seven forced fumbles and two interceptions. He also scored 12 TDs this season, piling up 300 yards in kickoff returns – 100 of those yards coming on one touchdown return. As a situational h-back, he cranked out 250 yards rushing plus had 210 receiving yards.
While Howard is eliminating schools from contention, he does not expect to come to a decision until the end of January just before the February 1 signing period.
"Right now I really don't even have a list of schools," said Howard. "I just have about 12 offers and I'm slowly eliminating schools. I got a couple of more offers even last week. I narrowed a few smaller schools out already but I have a lot of schools to still take a closer look at and see what's best for me."
Hoosiers Like Texas' Howard
Peegs.com Top Stories
Video intro: McRoberts not your usual walk-onAs a former Division I scholarship player and younger brother of a long-time NBA veteran, Zach McRoberts may be ready to help more than your typical walk-on
Video intro: Sophomore walk-on Quentin TaylorIndiana sophomore walk-on Quentin Taylor compares this Indiana team to last year's Big Ten champions and looks ahead to his future after his IU career.
Indiana depth chart vs. MarylandCheck out the Indiana two-deep for this week's game against Maryland.
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 26Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.