Written by Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)
Larry Tracy, from Indianapolis Decatur Central High School, was a priority target for Indiana head coach Tom Allen and his staff. The electric cornerback committed to the Hoosiers over offers from Iowa, Purdue, Cincinnati, Minnesota and others. As a senior in high school, the 5-foot-10, 175lb Tracy logged 64 tackles, 14 passes defended, nine tackles for loss, six fumble recoveries, three sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception and a blocked field goal. Tracy’s stellar performance garnered him a three-star grade. He was ranked as the 12th best player in the state of Indiana and the 78th best cornerback in the country, per 247Sports.
Tracy has enjoyed his first several weeks on campus. He explains, “It’s going great. I like it. It’s the process of everything. Really, you’ve just got to be mature and you’re going to be fine here.” The promising talent acknowledged the advantage of going to school close to home: “I think it is a big difference since I am from Indiana, and I’m really only like an hour-and-twenty minutes away from here and from being home and everything, so it’s a big difference; but I think the camaraderie here and everything, it helps the guys that are from super far away.” Tracy clearly embodies what Allen looks for in young players.
When Larry Tracy committed to Indiana in mid-June, he and a few other commits formed a bond. Tracy elaborates, “That was like the first big commit group that we had. It was like a group of six. We made a group chat with that group of six, and our goal was to make our class as good as we could; and make it the best we’ve had in a long time.” Tracy and the other Hoosier recruits reached their goal. The incoming class of 2019 is far and away the most talented group Indiana has ever signed in the era of recruiting rankings. Tracy humbly declared, “We completed our goal and that was the best thing about it. Most of the guys that committed later on in the process…like I talked to Tiawan (Mullen) before he committed, and talking to a lot of guys, I talked to Sampson (James) right after he decommitted from Ohio State…it’s a lot of guys that we all as a group talked to.”
None of this magic could happen without the diligence of Tom Allen, Brandon Shelby, William Inge, and the entire Indiana staff. Tracy spoke glowingly of the tight-knit atmosphere Allen has created, “The coaching staff put in countless hours working to get this class together. So, sitting back and just talking to the guys and watching everybody commit and join the family, it was great.” Hoosier fans should be excited to watch these players develop. Some of the early enrollees are getting their first glimpse at what it takes to be a football player in the Big Ten. “It’s crazy that you can tell the difference,” Tracy described his early returns from training, “Over the weekend I went home and saw my family a little bit because I haven’t been home in a while, and the first thing my dad said was, ‘Wow, you put a little bit of muscle on.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’”
Tracy is motivated to improve his body and prepare for the rigors of the Big Ten conference. He again mentions the camaraderie with this group of players, “I feel like when you’re with a group of guys and you see everybody else working hard, it’s easy for you to work hard and push yourself too.” Tracy is thriving in Indiana’s strength and conditioning program. “That’s the best thing about it, the workouts with Coach Ballou and everything, he’s going to push you to your limit. They’re made to push your body to its limits, to make your body better in ways you haven’t been able to reach.”
The adjustment to the athleticism and physicality of college football is immense. “That’s the one thing you know, you always know that everything you’re doing is to progress your body and make it better,” Tracy said, “So, even if some of the things might be hard, and you might not have ever done it before, you know it’s being done for the right reasons.” Tracy knows all the hours spent training in the winter and spring will play a crucial role in his development. Tracy and several others are making the most of this major advantage for early enrollees. Tracy knows he’s in good hands with David Ballou and Matt Rhea. “Working in the college environment and working with Coach Ballou and guys like that, it’s easy to see the difference in guys when they first come in and then after the first couple months.” After all those hours in the gym, Tracy isn’t surprised at the early gains, “You can see a little tone get added to them. It’s great. We’ve all been picking up weight. I think Sampson gained like 14 pounds in the first couple months we’ve been here. It’s a great process, I’m loving it.”
The adjustment for freshman cornerbacks is as difficult as any position in football. Tracy knows he has his work cut out for him, but he won’t let anything stop him from making an immediate impact. When asked if he plans to work himself into the cornerback rotation, Tracy responded, “Definitely. That’s my goal.” Tracy is an intelligent player with a focus on his future. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come here early, so I could learn the playbook and be ahead of the other guys that are coming in, or to be able to show that I have a knack to be able to play the game and be able to play early,” Tracy said. Whether it’s at cornerback, special teams, or on the practice squad, Larry Tracy is poised to make a name for himself in Bloomington.