'08 RECRUITING CLASS: Worth the Wait

Bloomington, Ind. – Billy Lynch admits he was running a little bit late this morning. The Hoosiers' assistant coach and primary in-state recruiter knew he wanted to be in the Memorial Stadium complex early enough to get that first phone call from...

Bloomington, Ind. – Billy Lynch admits he was running a little bit late this morning.

The Hoosiers' assistant coach and primary in-state recruiter knew he wanted to be in the Memorial Stadium complex early enough to get that first phone call from whichever one of his commits was the first to get his letter of intent in to the staff. Lynch rolled in at around 6:50 a.m., which made him one of the late arrivals on his father's coaching staff.

"I was here to get the first phone call, which was all I was trying to do," Lynch said.

That first phone call came from Franklin Central H.S. running back Darius Willis, who nudged out Nick Sliger, Adam Follett and Alex Hunt as the first player to get his letter of intent faxed in to the IU staff.

And that's how the IU staff's day started – getting together and huddling around the Football Complex's fax machine awaiting signed letters of intent from 17 players. Lynch said everyone was together keeping a close eye on the arrival of the letters until around 8:30 a.m., at which point most returned to their offices to get back to work on evaluating film of the 2009 class.

"We start off standing around waiting for them to come in, and then everyone gets bored," said co-defensive coordinator Brian George. "We felt pretty good about the 17 guys and the two that are already here, so there wasn't a lot of sweating."

Willis' was the first to come and Milwaukee, Wis., product Shane Covington's was the last, but by 1 p.m. all 17 had arrived without a glitch.

All of the coaches said they felt strongly that everyone who had verballed was solidly on board, but that still didn't keep the staff from eying the fax machine anxiously Wednesday morning.

"It was 10 ‘til seven and everyone is sitting in the lobby like they're going to look at that fax and something is going to change," said Billy's father, IU Coach Bill Lynch.

Fortunately, nothing did change. The Hoosiers had some recruiting day drama a year ago when safety Jerimy Finch de-committed at the 24th hour, which opened up a scholarship for linebacker Ian Reeves. But this time around there were no signing day surprises.

"We felt really good about the commitments we had," said the elder Lynch. "We recruited them to the last day, but we felt they were solid. We felt they were excited to be coming to Indiana. We didn't' think they were looking around."

And even if someone was looking around, co-defensive coordinator Brian George said it wasn't going to help the situation by

But there's still a sense of relief when all of the letters of intent have been received. The last of the letters came from Buffalo Grove (Ill.) offensve lineman Marc Damisch and Covington, both of whom had to battle the elements to get their letters sent in. A winter storm had cancelled class at each of their schools, but each still managed to make arrangements to get their letters faxed.

"Shane Covington, I think they had about 20 inches of snow today and no school and no access to fax or anything," the elder Lynch said. "But by golly, he was going to get it faxed in so I could talk about him (at the signing day press conference). Marc Damisch had the same thing. School was called off, and his coach was nice enough to meet him there and get him into school."

That extra effort by both Damisch and Covington went to show head coach Bill Lynch how excited both were about joining the Hoosier program, a trait that he thinks that all 19 members of the class possesses.

"I don't lose too much sleep the night before whether or not a kid is going to send a fax in when he's been telling us for six months he's going to," Lynch said.

"If a kid is going to change his mind on the last day, then he probably didn't want to come here real bad anyway."

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