Bloomington, Ind. – How many Hoosiers are still in the recruiting cards for the Hoosiers?
The IU football program has secured 12 verbal commitments to date, five of whom are from the Hoosier state. With signing day still nearly seven months away, in-staters Tandon Doss, Nick Sliger, Marquelo Suel, Chad Sherer and Mick Mentzer have already pledged to new head coach Bill Lynch, giving IU a total that is closing in on the six in-staters IU inked in each of the past two seasons.
So what other homegrown prospects could still potential signees come February. HoosierNation.com looks at 15 Hoosier preps who are likely Division I signees and are still on Indiana's radar.
1. Darius Willis, RB, 6-0, 205, Indianapolis, Ind. (Franklin Central) – Scout.com's 18th-ranked running back nationally, Willis could very well be Indiana's most coveted recruit in the '08 class. Willis combines 4.4 speed in the 40 with a big frame, and he's just blossoming as a running back. He's also expressed a desire to play close to home. While Alabama has shown some interest, Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky and Illinois has made up his list for months, and that's a very manageable list of competitors for Indiana to recruit against. The fact Albert Evans has already pledged to Purdue – although Evans could wind up in the secondary – probably helps IU's cause as well.
2. MarQueis Gray – QB, 6-3, 205, Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis) – If Willis is No. 1 on IU's in-state list, Gray isn't far behind. Gray is an ultra-athletic signal caller who fits the mold of dual-threat quarterbacks IU has targeted in recent years. He's been heavily recruited by a bevy of schools and has offers from Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota and Kentucky, among others. He's also had some interest from the likes of Ohio State, and it's unclear what other big-time programs could offer down the road. Indiana is aided by the fact Gray's prep teammate, Tandon Doss, is IU-bound, and Gray has spoken highly of IU assistant coach Billy Lynch. But it doesn't appear Gray is close to making a decision.
3. Trent Mossbrucker, K, 5-11, 192, Mooresville, Ind. (Mooresville) – It's not too often a placekicker would be so high on a team's wish list, but Indiana is in a neck-and-neck battle with Iowa for the Mooresville H.S. kicker. While Mossbrucker is also a talented quarterback on his prep team, he's said that both Big Ten schools are recruiting him strictly as a placekicker. Mossbrucker dazzled on-lookers with his kicking performance at the Indianapolis S.O.S. camp, and then performed well at IU's team camp last month. He's said he wants to decide between the two schools before the start of his senior season.
4. Aaron King, RB, 5-10, 185, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) – There's plenty to like in the Carmel H.S. standout, who rushed for 2,379 yards and 28 touchdowns on a Carmel team that advanced to the state championship game before falling to Warren Central in the title game. The concern is whether his size will allow him to be an every-down tailback at the Big Ten level. While running back is his likely position, he's athletic enough to play another position, which could help him land that first elusive Big Ten offer.
5. Bryan Schroeder, RB, 6-0, 205, Ramsey, Ind. (North Harrison) – Schroeder amassed staggering rushing totals as a junior, totaling 2,043 yards and 26 touchdowns on just 185 carries, or better than 11 yards per carry for the Class 3A school. He's on pace to eclipse the state's career rushing record, but is still looking for a Big Ten offer. Indiana has appeared close at times to extending that offer
Others (listed alphabetically)
Zach Cecich, TE, 6-2, 220, Crown Point, Ind. (Crown Point) – Cecich was overshadowed in the passing game a year ago by IU commit Matt Ernest, but still managed to catch 16 balls for 324 yards and six touchdowns. The tight end isn't a huge need for the Hoosiers, but Cecich figures to get some serious looks from Midwestern schools, potentially at the MAC level.
Jayme Comer, LB, 6-2, 214, Brownsburg, Ind. (Brownsburg) – Projected as a middle linebacker in college, Comer parlayed some very good efforts at summer camps and combines into a handful of scholarship offers. He's been offered by Air Force, Army, Illinois State and Wyoming, while Indiana and Northwestern have been looking at him very closely as well. He was a first-team All-State pick as a junior, totaling 91 tackles and 12 tackles for loss, and he has 4.78 speed in the 40.
Elliott Dutra, CB, 5-9, 175, Whiteland, Ind. (Center Grove) – Productivity-wise, Dutra has few equals in the state. As a junior at Whiteland (Ind.) H.S., Dutra rushed for 2,033 yards and 39 touchdowns on 355 carries, and he figures to be the featured attraction for Center Grove H.S. this fall after transferring there over the summer. He combines that productivity with 4.47 speed in the 40, giving him the sort of breakaway speed that any college coach would covet. The knock on him is clearly his size, which could mean he'd need to play cornerback at the major Division I level.
Mike Hladik, QB, 6-3, 200, Columbus, Ind. (North) – A good-sized signal caller, Hladik completed 164-of-312 passes for 2,265 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, guiding Columbus North to a sectional and regional championship and a 9-5 record in 2006.
Cameron Lowry, OL, 6-6, 245, Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike) – Indiana has already secured a handful of commitments from linemen, but if they opt to go with another one, Lowry could wind up being a possibility. The son of former Ohio State and NFL standout Orlando Lowry, Cameron is the sort of tall, athletic lineman the Hoosiers have targeted in recent years. He has good feet, excellent hands and good speed (5.0 in the 40) and has plenty of room on his frame to add weight. He hasn't drawn a great deal of attention, but he's a player to keep an eye on.
Kyle Magnuson, OT, 6-6 ½, 303, Elkhart, Ind. (Concord) – Magnuson has a huge frame and was a second-team All-Combine pick at Scout.com's Chicago Combine in the spring. Mobility isn't his greatest asset, but he did test very well in the strength categories at the combine, and has reportedly been offered by both Bowling Green and Wyoming.
Paul McIntosh, QB, 6-2, 191, Evansville, Ind. (Reitz) – McIntosh isn't as highly-touted as MarQueis Gray, but he's another athletic, dual threat quarterback. As a junior McIntosh rushed for 1,305 yards and passed for another 1,100 while totaling 24 touchdowns. One of his top targets is 6-5, 200-pound receiver Damion Garrett, who was also a Junior All-State choice as a basketball player. McIntosh anchors a team that is expected to be among the best in the state this season.
Connor O'Bannion, DE, 6-1, 200, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) – O'Bannion is a prep teammate of tailback Aaron King at Carmel H.S. While King anchored the offense, O'Bannion was the player to be feared on the defensive side, totaling 106 tackles and 14 sacks for Coach Mo Moriarity's state runners-up.
Alex Sarkisian, QB, 6-2, 182, Valparaiso, Ind. (Valparaiso) – Sarkisian threw for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for another six scores as a junior, showing off his ability to run it as well as put it in the air. He has been offered by Air Force, and other Midwestern schools continue to keep an eye on him.
Adrien Spencer, CB, 6-0, 175, Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Bishop Luers) – Injuries derailed a good portion of Spencer's junior season at Luers, as a bad ankle and shoulder kept him sidelined for 5-6 games. That, in turn, has kept the spotlight off him for much of the summer. But, he does have excellent size and speed (4.55 in the 40), and he totaled eight interceptions as a sophomore. A healthy and productive senior season could result in a spike in interest in Spencer, who did impress the IU coaching staff during his stop in Bloomington for IU's summer camp.
Aaron Stewart, OL, 6-5, 250, Jeffersonville, Ind. (Jefersonville) – Like Lowry, Stewart is a rangy, athletic lineman who fits the recently-established IU mold.