Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana football is going down to the wire with three players.
With signing day less than 48 hours away, the Hoosiers have 19 commitments to date and three other potential last-minute commitments. With Bill Lynch scheduled to discuss his first IU recruiting class on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., it appears he'll be waiting on decisions potentially until just minutes before he makes the class public.
Here's a closer look at those three players and where things stand:
Gulfport, Fla. (Boca Ciega H.S.)
Johnson has been extremely high on IU's wish list for the better part of year, and he has narrowed his potential destinations to Indiana, Ohio State and South Florida. He told HoosierNation.com late last week that he'll make his decision known at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at a press conference at his high school. Johnson didn't hint at which way he might be leaning, instead saying that the only thing he knows is that he'll be selecting one of those three schools. Indiana and South Florida are recruiting Johnson as a quarterback, while Ohio State has tabbed him as an athlete who could play receiver or in the defensive backfield. At one time Johnson appeared set on getting a chance to play quarterback, but he's been less insistent on that the last couple of times we've talked to him.
What's Helping IU: Hoosier assistant coach Billy Lynch was the first one on the recruiting scene, originally noticing Johnson more than a year ago when he was actually evaluating another player. Johnson hasn't forgotten IU's early interest. Johnson has also never suggested that weather or location is a big deal to him.
What's Hurting IU: It's awfully hard to say no to Ohio State. Indiana's edge appeared to be that he wanted to play quarterback, but that doesn't appear to be as important as it once did.
Columbus, Ohio (Eastmoor Academy)
Pead was a mid-December IU visitor and is the 34th-ranked cornerback in the nation according to Scout.com. But he's said his preference is to play running back, and his numbers from a year ago (2,204 yards, 39 touchdowns) suggests someone will give him a shot to do that. He's been busy in the weeks after his IU trip, visiting Pitt and Cincinnati while also fielding new interest from Michigan and Colorado. Like Johnson, Pead will wait to announce his decision until signing day and might wait until around 3:30 to make his decision public.
What's Helping IU: Honestly…not much. After making his official to Pitt he said the Panthers were in the lead, and following an in-home visit with the Cincinnati staff he said he was close to committing to the Bearcats. He's probably a back-up plan with schools like Michigan and Colorado, but he might jump at an offer if one comes in the 24th hours. He does still mention IU as a possibility when he talks about his potential destinations so all hope isn't lost, but it sounds like a long shot.
What's Hurting IU: Indiana is going to sign Darius Willis, and it's clear he's the running back that the staff has coveted in the class. I've also heard good things about Cortez Smith and Alex Hunt as well, so it would appear Pead would be tabbed as a player who would wind up on defense. He's been pretty clear that his preference is to play offense, and if that's the case, it's hard to imagine him seeing IU as his best opportunity.
Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven)
Rucker was a late IU visitor, making a stop in Bloomington in mid-January after a trip to Ole Miss fell through. An offer to Kentucky has seemingly fallen through due to a scholarship numbers crunch, which appears to leave only IU and the hometown school, Memphis, as possibilities. Indiana has loaded up on wide receivers in the class with Marquelo Suel, Tandon Doss, Charles Love III, Tyler Adetona and potentially Shane Covington, but they've extended the scholarship offer and think enough of Rucker to not only wait on a decision, but also over-sign if necessary if he's willing to commit.
What's Helping IU: Unless Rucker succumbs to the hometown draw of Memphis, the Hoosiers appear to have a lot more to offer than its Conference USA competition. Rucker recently made a visit to Memphis with his high school teammate, Tenarius Wright, but Wright appears headed to either Arkansas (where he originally committed before Houston Nutt departed) or North Carolina.
What's Hurting IU: There is that hometown appeal that IU has to compete with, and as wide open as IU's attack is, Memphis airs it out even more. Last fall Memphis threw for more than 300 yards/game, and it had five receivers catch at least 30 balls. That has to be appealing to a wide receiver, not matter how many players are returning from the depth chart.
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