Bloomington, Ind. – National Letter of Intent signing day is just three weeks away, but there's no mad scramble underway at IU's Memorial Stadium.
January is often an important time for official visits, but much of the Hoosiers' work has already been done. Fifteen of IU's 19 commits to date pledged last spring and summer, leaving just a handful of slots to fill once the 2007 season came to a close.
That's why there have been far fewer official visitors in Bloomington than in year's past. The Hoosiers had one big weekend of visitors Dec. 7-9 when they brought in 13 recruits, seven of whom had already verballed to IU. Of the six uncommitted visitors, three have since pledged to IU Coach Bill Lynch (Darius Willis, Tyler Adetona and Charles Love III), one has committed elsewhere (Brynden Trawick, Michigan State) and two remain uncommitted (Orhian Johnson and Willy Lowe).
But other than that one weekend, there has been little need to bring a steady stream of recruits to Bloomington. Indiana is already right up against the 85-player scholarship limit with its current list of verbals, and as a result hasn't scheduled many officials for January. The only official visitor last weekend was Duluth, Ga., running back Alex Hunt, who has already verballed to IU. This coming weekend, meanwhile, will be devoid of any official visitors.
The final weekend in January could include a couple of visitors depending on the decisions of Johnson and Lowe, but IU appears pretty close to closing the book on its 2008 recruiting efforts and turning its attention to 2009.
That stands in stark contrast to the last two years, when IU brought in 12 official visitors in January of 2006 and 14 in January of 2007 to round out its classes. This year's crop of January visitors stands at one thus far, and probably won't be more than three by the time the month comes to a close.
This might appear to be a good year for the Hoosiers to have some flexibility to add some January commits since they're coming off the program's first bowl appearance in 14 years, but Lynch said he was excited to get the early commits and he's pleased with the crop he has coming in next fall.
"I like what we've got," said Lynch. "I think we started recruiting last spring thinking we were going to be a bowl team…So I think we started recruiting at that point where we started taking commitments, those are the type of players we could recruit."
The Big Ten does allow teams to over-sign by as many as three, which is why Johnson and Lowe remain potential signees. Attrition is always a possibility as well, whether it's due to academics or a player's decision to transfer at the end of the semester.
But the Hoosier coaching staff isn't overly anxious to be right up against the 85-man scholarship limit for next year. After all, Indiana only has 14 seniors-to-be on the roster for next season, meaning they are already looking at a limited number of scholarships to offer in 2009 as well.
That's why Indiana has opted to wait on Johnson and Lowe while also keeping tabs on its current crop of verbals to make sure no one opts to go in another direction by the time signing day arrives.
"You have to keep recruiting because until they're signed, we've seen different things happen," Lynch said. "So we'll keep working at it and not assume anything."