IU Recruiting Spotlight: Running Backs

Indiana has already offered in-state tailbacks Darius Willis and Albert Evans, but there are some other recent offers the staff has made at tailback. In the second part of a HoosierNation.com series, we look at IU's 2008 recruiting efforts at the tailback position...

Positional Need – The Hoosiers are still looking for an every-down back, so landing a top-flight running back figures to be a priority in this year's class. IU's efforts here will be about quality, not quantity. IU does still have Marcus Thigpen for two more years and Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray for three, while true freshman Zack Walker-Davis has drawn positive reviews as well for his potential. But with three or four Big Ten-caliber running backs in the state this year, Indiana will certainly like to get at least one of them in uniform for the fall of 2008…

Priority Recruit-
Darius Willis, 5-11, 205, Indianapolis, Ind. (Franklin Central) – Willis appears to be the best of a bunch of very good in-state running backs in this year's class. He rushed for 1,277 yards and 15 touchdowns on 231 carries as a junior and is the 22nd-ranked recruit regardless of position in the Midwest according to Scout.com. What makes him intriguing is he's an extremely gifted athlete who is still relatively raw. His high school coach, Lance Scheib, said it wasn't until the second half of the 2006 season that Willis really put every together and started producing a handful of huge games. He's run a :10.8 in the 100-meters so he has track-caliber speed, and he has the frame to be a 20-carry per game tailback. The Hoosiers also appear to be in very good shape with him. Scheib said Willis is down to Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Notre Dame, and that Willis wants to major in business. The prep coach said Willis has been vocal about wanting to stay relatively close to home, and that he's not interested in opening up his recruitment to any new programs.

Other Offers:
Albert Evans, 6-1, 190, Portage, Ind. (Portage) – If Willis is No. 1 on IU's running back wish list, Evans is probably 1a. Like Willis, Evans has track caliber speed, evidenced by his :11.01 in the 100-meters. He's coming off a 254-carry, 1,603-yard, 14-touchdown junior season and figures to be up around 2,000 yards as a senior. Evans was offered by the IU staff in February at the program's Junior Day, and he's a prospect who has a frame that can easily add some muscle and weight to get up over 200 pounds and be an every-down back. While he's listed by just about every recruiting service as a tailback prospect, he's also a very good cornerback as well, so if IU does in fact land Evans, that doesn't preclude them from trying to get another tailback in the class.

Chris Anderson, 5-8, 181, Hollywood, Fla. (Boyd Anderson) – A transfer from Hollywood Hills H.S., Anderson is one of the Hoosiers' most recent scholarship offers, having received one within the last two weeks. Indiana joined the likes of Auburn, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Georgia in extending an offer. He rushed for more than 1,500 yards as a junior, has run a 4.5 in the 40, and will be participating in Scout.com's combine this weekend in Atlanta.

Carl Robinson, 5-9 ½, 211, Douglasville, Ga. (Douglas County) - Robinson was clocked at 4.6 in the 40 at a recent combine, so he has plenty of speed for a 210-pounder. The Hoosiers were the first to offer, doing so in early April. But Robinson has been getting significant interest from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Michigan State,

Michael Shaw, 6-0, 187, Trotwood, Ohio (Madison) - Indiana is one of a slew of schools to offer Shaw, who said he has double-digit scholarship offers at this point. Shaw rushed for 975 yards and 21 touchdowns on 180 carries a year ago while playing in the wishbone at Trotwood-Madison. His greatest attribute is his speed – he's run a :10.47 100-meters and a :21.6 200. He recently told Scout.com he's favoring Nebraska and Iowa.

Franklin Green, 5-11, 200, Savanna, Ga. (Jenkins) – As a junior Green carried 175 times for 1,920 yards and 19 touchdowns, better than 10 yards/carry. College recruiters have taken notice, and he has at least 10 scholarship offers, Indiana included. He said he's favoring Florida, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and Rutgers, though, so this appears to be a real long shot.

Other Possibilities:
Bryan Schroeder, 5-10, 205, Corydon, Ind. (North Harrison)
– It might be just a formality that IU hasn't offered Schroeder yet, as he'll take the SAT for the first time next month. But he's coming off a 2,043-yard junior season at the 3A school, and has an excellent chance to become the state's all-time leading rusher in the fall. His high school coach said Schroeder wants to stay in-state and is favoring Indiana and Purdue. If one does in fact offer before the summer is out, he'd seem to be a likely early commit.

Aaron King, RB, 5-10, 185, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) – King helped the Greyhounds to the state championship game by rushing for 2,379 yards and 28 touchdowns on 328 carries last season. Indiana has been up to see King on a couple of occasions, as has Illinois. Indiana hasn't offered yet, and King is still waiting on his first scholarship offer. Probably the biggest question mark about King is whether he's big enough to handle the beating that an every down tailback does in the Big Ten.

Chad Sherer, 6-1, 195, Cicero, Ind. (Hamilton Heights) - The younger brother of current Wisconsin quarterback Dustin Sherer, Chad is running back and defensive back at Hamilton Heights. As a junior he rushed for 1,260 yards on 182 carries, including 20 touchdowns.

Elliott Dutra, 5-11, 176, Whiteland, Ind. (Whiteland) – Comes from a small Indiana school, but has excellent speed and was recently named the top running back at the Scout.com combine in Chicago. He ran a 4.47 40 in Chicago and was the fastest player at the event. On paper, his size would seem to make him a better fit at cornerback, but time will tell if he starts getting some serious looks as a running back now. He has yet to receive his first scholarship offer.

Peegs.com Top Stories