Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
With the recruiting dead period just around the corner (December 15th), the Indiana Hoosier coaching staff has a very important weekend coming up full of visiting prospects. Nine high school players (3 commits, 6 targets) descended Bloomington on Friday for an official visit. So who are these prospects that are potential future Hoosiers? Let’s find out.
The Hoosiers have four players who have already committed to play for head coach Kevin Wilson starting in 2015. While the player has “committed” to play for the Hoosiers, it is still of the utmost importance for the IU coaching staff to continue to reinforce the athlete’s pledge to them. Recruiting is a cutthroat business and even after a player commits to one school it does not mean that other coaches will back off from trying to get that prospect to flip to his school.
Andre Brown, ATH, Columbia HS, Decatur, GA, 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 3-Star
Brown committed to the Hoosiers on August 13th after de-committing from Georgia Southern. Brown played both quarterback and safety during his senior year and excelled on both sides of the ball. Brown, who will likely project as a defensive back at the next level, recorded 63 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles in 2014. He is a smart player on and off the field as he has offers from three Ivy League schools. As a quarterback Brown completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns and added 474 yards and another nine touchdowns on the ground. Brown is a terrific athlete who could possibly play right away for the Hoosiers. At 6-0/187 pounds Brown has the size to play Big Ten football. One of the knocks on Brown is his 4.69 40-yard dash time. He is not slow by any means, but he may not possess the speed needed to play corner at the next level. Brown received offers from Duke, Minnesota, Wake Forrest, Kentucky, Harvard, Syracuse, and Marshall.
Brandon Knight, OT, Noblesville HS, Noblesville, IN 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 3-Star
One of the first commits to the 2015 class for coach Kevin Wilson, Knight is a big part of the future for the Hoosier offensive line. At 6-5/270 pounds, Knight has the frame to put on more weight and become a pillar to build around for the Hoosiers. He is listed as the eighth-best prospect from the state of Indiana and the 63rd-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation. Knight has been an active member of the #CrimsonArmy15 on twitter trying to build unity among the 2015 Hoosier commits. Coach Kevin Wilson is trying and starting to succeed in bringing the top in-state talent to IU. Knight is a major part of that movement. Knight attended the Bucket Game against Purdue and holds other offers from Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, and Miami (FL) among others. Knight was also named to the Associated Press All-Indiana football team earlier this month.
Simon Stepaniak, OT, Ross HS, Hamilton, OH, 247 Composite Ranking: 3-Star-
Stepaniak committed to the Hoosiers in early May and has taken two unofficial visits to Bloomington since then. He is another offensive line recruit in the 2015 class for Wilson’s staff who will need to reload that unit after next season. Stepaniak is rated the 45th best player in the state of Ohio and the 111th best offensive tackle prospect nationally. At 6-4/280 pounds he has above average size and will benefit from being in a college strength and conditioning program. Stepaniak was lured to the Hoosiers by head coach Kevin Wilson and assistant Greg Frey. He also holds offers from Louisville, Illinois, Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Penn State among others.
Official visits are also a time for Hoosier coaches to convince a player who is either undecided or committed to another school to make up or change their minds and pledge their services to Indiana. The Hoosiers have six prospects on campus that are either committed or undecided this weekend. With only 10 players committed to the 2015 class the Hoosier coaching staff will try and get a few of these prospects to promise to sign with Indiana in February.
Tyler Green, Safety, DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, MD, 247 Composite Ranking: 3-Star
Green originally committed to play for Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes last June, but reopened his recruitment on December 9th. At 6-3 and armed with 4.5 speed Green could be an impact player in the secondary for the Hoosiers who lose both starting cornerbacks from 2014 in Tim Bennett and Michael Hunter as well as starting safety Mark Murphy. Green is rated the 14th-best player in the state of Maryland and as the 35th-best safety prospect nationally. Green could potentially give the Hoosiers a lot of depth at a need position. He has the size and speed to play right away and coach Kevin Wilson has not been afraid to play freshman. Green is projected by 247 Sports to land at Maryland, but also holds offers from Virginia, North Carolina State, Hawaii, and Charlotte.
Isaac James, ATH, Carmel HS, Carmel, IN 247 Composite Ranking: 3-Star
James projects to play wide receiver at the college level and would be a welcome addition to a Hoosier receiving corps that was plagued by drops in 2014. Indiana is the only school that is offering him as a receiver. At 5-11 James does not possess the size that Indiana really needs, but could be a play maker along the lines of Shane Wynn and J-Shun Harris with his 4.5 speed. James is listed as the 14th-best prospect from Indiana and the 69th-best athlete in the 2015 class. The Hoosiers are battling Wisconsin and Northwestern for his services and is listed right now as only the third team in the projections of where he will commit. James visited Wisconsin way back in October, and could be turned off by the coaching change and was in Evanston to visit Northwestern last weekend. The Hoosiers have the benefit of having the most recent visit. He is being recruited by Indiana offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and holds offers from Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Missouri, Cincinnati, Navy, and a handful of MAC schools.
Davondre Love, OT, Affton, St. Louis, MO 247 Composite Ranking: None
Love is a massive offensive lineman at 6-7 and 287 pounds. He has the body to play in a power five conference, but only has a few offers from major schools. The lack of offers says that Love is either a work in progress or that he was just not seen by coaches around the country, but if there is talent hidden somewhere good coaches usually find it. The Hoosiers would love to add one more offensive lineman to this class. Indiana is the only school that Love is scheduled to visit and he could commit before the weekend is over. Love holds offers from Syracuse, San Diego State, in addition to a couple FCS schools. Assistant Greg Frey and William Inge headed his recruitment to the Hoosiers.
Nnamdi Oguayo, DE, High Point, Beltsville, MD 247 Composite Ranking: None
Oguayo may be a work in progress and will need to add a lot of weight to his 6-4/210-pound frame to play defensive end in the Big Ten. His size and 4.6 speed would fit in nicely at the Bandit position in Brian Knorr’s 3-4 scheme, but would probably be redshirted so he could fill out and spend a full year in a college training and nutrition program. Oguayo visited Pittsburgh last weekend and also holds an offer from the Panthers. In total Oguayo holds five other offers from schools like Pittsburgh, Illinois, Louisville, South Florida, and Temple.
Kareem Orr, CB, Notre Dame HS, Chattanooga, TN 247 Composite Ranking: 3-Stars
Orr de-committed from Louisville on December 7th and had an in-home visit from an Oklahoma assistant coach the next day. While Orr may be a long shot for the Hoosiers to snatch up, they do have him on campus and could sway things in their favor. The Hoosiers will be thin at corner in 2015 after losing both of their starters from 2014. Coach Kevin Wilson and his staff should make it a priority to get a commitment from Orr before he leaves Bloomington this weekend. Orr is ranked as the 30th-best prospect in Tennessee and the 112th-best cornerback in the nation. At 6-0 Orr has ideal size to be an impact player in the secondary at a power five school. Orr has no shortage of choices as he holds offers from Georgia, Clemson, Arizona State, Oklahoma, and Mississippi State among others.
Brandon Wilson, DE/LB, West Orange, Winter Garden, FL 247 Composite Ranking: 3-Star
Wilson is committed to play his college ball for the University of Virginia in September. At 6-4/240 pounds Wilson has IU defensive Coordinator Brian Knorr salivating at what he may be able to do at the Bandit position. The Hoosiers would love to have a player with the size and skills of Wilson, but they appear to be long shots to land him. He is 50th-best strong side defensive end in the nation as well as the 129th-best prospect out of the state of Florida. Wilson holds over 20 offers from schools including Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Purdue, Mississippi State, Boston College, and Kentucky. His lead recruiters from the Hoosiers are head coach Kevin Wilson and assistant William Inge. The Hoosiers are Wilson’s only listed visit and the coaching staff must bring their A-game to close the deal and steal one of the better defensive end prospects left to get.
It is unrealistic for Hoosier fans to expect to land all of the prospects that are visiting Bloomington this weekend, but if Kevin Wilson and his staff can grab a verbal from at least three of the six uncommitted players it should be seen as a victory. The 2015 class for Indiana currently stands at 10 players and is ranked 13th out of 14 in the Big Ten and 73rd nationally, which is below where the previous two classes for the Hoosiers have finished.