Written By Dustin Schutte (@SchutteCFB)
Indiana head coach Tom Allen meet with assembled media yesterday in Bloomington to update the public on roster changes, the 2018 recruiting class and much more.
Three players will be receiving a medical non-qualifying status: Tom Bolstad (LB), Jameel Cook (DB), Tyler Knight (OL).
Defensive back Tyler Green will transfer from the program.
Jonah Morris, a former wide receiver, will move to the defensive side of the ball.
First spring practice will be held on March 3. The Cream and Crimson spring game will be held on Saturday, April 14 at noon ET.
Tom Allen's opening statements:
"We're really excited about what the last three weeks we were able to produce and Jamar Johnson, Jonathan King and James Miller all signing with us as Indiana Hoosiers.
"Jamar (Johnson) is a young man that we're really excited about as a safety and has the versatility to play, really, any of the back end positions. He really brings a physicality to our program that I love. He is the kind of young man that, I believe, will come here and do great things and buy into everything that we're building as a program.
"Jonathan King is a young man that we had really gone after in the beginning and then he committed to Oregon. When things changed, and when we were able to get Michael Penix, his teammate, that really kind of allowed us to get back in on him. Really excited about his skill set at defensive end.
"And then James Miller, a young man we're really excited about as well. He's a guy that we really had to fight to the midnight hour, literally, to get him to be able to become a Hoosier. One of those unique linebackers who has the physicality and downhill nature of a MIKE (linebacker) and with the athleticism of being able to play out in space."
"That's one thing, when you talk about our class, very athletic, a lot of speed and when you watch these guys play, there's a lot of physical performances by these guys in high school and I really, really emphasize that on both sides of the ball."
"We signed 26 high school players and we had the two transfers, as well. That gives us 16 on defense, nine on offense and two athletes and a kicker. So, really feel like we addressed the needs. We lost a lot of upper classmen on the defensive side of the football, and because of that, we signed three corners, three safeties, four linebackers. In our league, you have to have three linebackers on the field against several of our opponents in several situations.
"On offense three offensive linemen...two tight ends, two wide receivers, a quarterback and a running back. The quarterback and running back are already here, and one of those receivers as well. Really encouraged by what those guys are already doing.
"To summarize our group, 10 different states represented...so, as our roster has already been represented, it's a national group with individuals from different parts of the country. That's a big reflection of our university, as well. When you go through our roster, a lot of guys from different areas and I think that's a great thing for us to continue to do as we play a great schedule and have a great brand nationally.
"I want to commend Matt Wilson, Scott Gasper for their work with our recruiting. A really, really strong class that I love. It's really important to bring guys here that are great fits for Indiana.
"Also excited about Nate Sudfeld and his ability to earn a Super Bowl ring, which is pretty awesome.
"We've got five going to the [NFL] Combine that we're really proud of: Simmie Cobbs, Chris Covington, Rashard Fant, Tegray Scales and Ian Thomas. This is a tie for program most and is a reflection of the way our program is going and the type of young men we're able to develop. Guys can come here and have tremendous opportunities. We were tied for fourth-most in the Big Ten. Really excited for their future."
On developing a recruiting pipeline in Florida:
"It's really important to us. It was an area that we had already been recruiting in when I got here. My relationship there is pretty unique, it's really special. I started my coaching career in Tampa when I was 22 years old and was there for five years.
"I have a lot of strong connections with the high school coaches...and so that helps. It's about relationships, it always will be in recruiting. And when people know you and they trust you, it makes a difference."
On how instrumental other players from Florida are in the recruiting process:
"I just think that when they see guys from their area come up here to Indiana and have success, I think that resonates strongly. Those are guys they can relate to. Whop [Philyor] came in as a true freshman, right out of high school. Donavan [Hale] is doing what he's done as a receiver and is going to continue to grow. They can see that. I think those are things that kids want to see."
On why Indiana focused on defensive players after the early signing period:
"Basically, we were done on the offensive side of the ball after the December signing, in terms of what we had targeted, that we had allotted spots for based on who was graduating. The true emphasis became those three signings.
"We had three spots we wanted to fill this February signing date and we went three-for-three with those. We got all three that we had targeted and that were our priority guys. That was a really impressive thing to be able to get all those guys, you don't always get the ones you really want. Those defensive spots we needed to finish out that group."
On if he's noticed improvement since David Ballou took over strength and conditioning:
"I came to a morning workout a week ago and it was noticeable, the way our guys looked. It was a three-week period from when our guys started to then, and just the things that we're doing to enhance movements and hip flexibility and change of direction and speed, things that I was very pleased with.
"We have to be great at developing our players. There's two things I tell our staff: we've got to be great evaluators and we've got to be great developers. A huge part of that development is the weight room. We're addressing some things that are huge needs for us.
"I believe we're seeing some good changes that we needed and our kids have really bought in."
On the philosophy of the depth chart during spring practice:
"You want to let them all know that we want to see them compete. I want to see as many reps from as many guys as possible. We want to develop them fundamentally and we want to make sure that we're doing a great job of getting enough on film.
"We have an organizational chart, it's not really about who the starters are...in fall camp it's a lot of ones vs. twos, you'll probably have three groups you'll be rotating through. But you want to have everything divided and time allotted to get a great look.
"We're going to have over 50 guys who are going to be freshmen and sophomores on our team in fall camp. That's a big chunk of our guys, it's going to be a younger team. So, getting our guys reps this spring, we readshirted several last year, so we'll give those guys a chance. I want to get a lot of reps for a lot of guys and be able to truly get a great evaluation."
On whether or not there are guys looking to switch positions:
"Not specifically. There's a couple guys maybe within the position group...but a true position change, I know we have moved Jonah Morris to defense. He had been playing receiver and played on special teams last year and showed some things, so not really sure where that's going to fit yet. Other than that, I don't think there will be any significant changes."
On whether IU can learn anything from the Eagles Super Bowl run:
"One thing I did note was the quality of their quarterback play was very, very high during the playoffs. [Nick Foles] played his best football at that point. Execution at that position is a huge part of your success.
"We talked about their grit, their toughness, they just kept fighting."
On the importance of having coaches on staff with Florida connections:
"That's one reason why...we really stick to area recruiting. I believe relationships are so important. That's one reason why this last three-week period was so critical.
"The guys in their area do a great job of knowing principals and ADs and counselors in those buildings. You don't do that unless you're there over and over and over again.
"We have some areas in Florida that we have designated, even though it's out of state and it's not close by, but we recruit those areas like they are within our six-hour radius."
On formulating a plan for earlier official visits:
"It's different. It's another part that we haven't experienced in the past. April, May and June are now months when you can take official visits as rising seniors. You still don't have any more official visits that you can offer as a program...it's going to be interesting to see how it's utilized.
"You know, per your campus, what strengths you have on your campus and you want to make sure you accentuate those during any visit. So, it's really important that it's a time when our student body is here and Bloomington is like it would be when they're in school.
"April is probably a target for us, we'd like to be able to get guys while we're in spring football. May, our coaches are all going to be out recruiting. Then when you get to June, they cannot participate in a camp when they're on an official visit, but they can be on campus while one is going on.
"The difference is, you take an official visit in April, May or June and you still don't sign until December or February, that's a long time between the two."
On which position Jamar Johnson is expected to play for the Hoosiers:
"Once we get through spring football we'll know a lot more than we do right now. There's no question he'll be in the secondary, it just depends on where. I see him as a safety, but he has the skill-set and versatility to play at corner, as well. I'd say he'll start at the safety position unless something happens with our depth at corner.
"He's just a guy you want on your team."
On how the early signing period changed the recruiting process:
"I think everybody saw that the December signing became the signing day. I think it'll probably stay pretty true to that in the future. Because of that, you now know that's the one to focus on.
"I feel like the January period was very productive for us, but I think you learn some things along the way that can make it even more productive in the future with your guys.
"You really have to have a good, organized plan so you're maximizing, when you're in an area, how to take advantage. It's definitely changed the way we do things. From the end of the season to December 20 is a crazy time, but once you get them signed it really takes pressure off of that and you can focus on the next class and wrapping up a few spots"
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