Notes and Quotes From Indiana's Early Signing Period Press Conference

Tom Allen can smile after putting together a strong signing class during the early signing date.  Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Tom Allen can smile after putting together a strong signing class during the early signing date. Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Indiana head coach met with the media in Bloomington this afternoon to discuss the 19 signees that the Hoosiers gained during the Early Signing Period.


  • Indiana signed 19 prospects (three four-star prospects) not including former four-star recruit QB Jack Tuttle.

  • As of publishing IU’s class ranks 39th nationally (10th in Big Ten)

  • IU will have five players enroll early to participate in spring practice (Matthew Bedford, Juan Harris, Mike Katic, Sampson James and Larry Tracy).

  • IU has five spots left to fill during the February Signing Day

  • Roster Updates: RB Craig Nelson will transfer and LB T.D. Roof will retire because of injuries.

Tom Allen Quotes:

On the Success of In-State Recruiting in this Cycle:

It's in-state guys that are really good football players. And Indiana is not a massive state numbers-wise, there's a lot of other states that have more schools, more athletes than we do. So you've got to make sure that you can really target those key guys that you believe are Big Ten football players and guys that can help you win football games in the Big Ten and go after them. And to be able to get a big chunk of those guys in the top 10 in our state is big for me.

And guys at schools that from the Indianapolis area as well as north that play good football and have guys that we felt like were worthy of being here. And so I just think you can't put, can't say enough great things about that. That's important to me. Always has been. Always will be. And still want to continue to work hard to get more guys from in state. So make sure we're getting the guys that fit our profile and guys that we can help us achieve our goals and they can come here and achieve their goals. Big deal for me, yes.

On Juan Harris’s Return to Bloomington:

For me we went through a long process in regards to evaluating his situation and looked at things as they happen when he was here and know his history. And just know his upbringing and the things that he's been through.

And so to be able to -- it was really a collective group effort for me to go through and talk to a lot of folks and spend time with them and have him come. We brought him on official visits so he could spend time with individuals here.

And sometimes when you have a chance to go to the environment that he went to when he left here, it was a wake-up call in a lot of ways and to realize what you have. And then when you choose to go somewhere else and you don't have those things anymore, and you realize how blessed you really were and how the opportunities you had -- so I think it's called growing up.

But at the same time he's got to be able to, as we've given him a second chance here, and he and I have spent a lot of time talking about that, and we're going to do everything we can to be able to get him the resources to be successful. And I feel like he has a skill set, has some things that can help this program. And I believe that we have some things that we can do here to help him.

So it's kind of a dual benefit. And to me it's about really challenging young men to grow and to develop and become who I believe they were created to be. So that's on him to come back here and prove that I was right in giving him a second chance.

On What Needs IU Still Has to Fill in February:

You don't want to pigeonhole yourself because, trust me, this thing changes by the day. But when you look at the numbers and what we set out to sign, you try to get a couple more offensive linemen. And you'd like to get a defensive lineman and like to be able to get a receiver. Like to be able to get a DB.

So if I just had to say right now that's the goal. Those are the spots we still feel like, and those can be, trust me, it can evolve different ways. But you know you've got five. That's the guarantee thing that we do have and we have to work within that structure.

And so we'll work really, really hard between now and February 6 to be able to come up with the best five guys we can to meet those needs. And also sometimes you just say, hey, take the best available. Sometimes that's a variable that comes into play.

Sometimes you can't take a certain position because, man, we just can't pass this guy up even though it might not be an area, that I might have even said right now. But at the same time I do know that it will be no more than five.

On the Importance of Stacking Back-to-Back Strong Recruiting Classes:

That's obviously the hope and the expectation. And I've said it all along that it takes time to build it. When you're building your foundation and you're developing that foundation and you're doing it, I believe the right way for us and that's bringing in guys that need time in the weight room. They need spring football. They need the summer workouts. They need everything that we do year-round.

So to me, you know, I want to have it happen in 2019. And that's my expectation. And obviously I want it to happen in 2018. And once again, we're right there on the verge. But you know, you still didn't have the mature depth that you need. I think the depth was better than the year before, you know, but it was young depth. And young depth is better than no depth, but it also needs to be developed.

So to me that is -- you know, we've got to keep stacking. We've got to do this next year. That's what it has to be. Because I know that's who we play against, teams that have that kind of depth and have those kind of guys that have done it year after year after year. And both Dave Ballou and Dr. Rhea have not even been here for a whole year yet. So just to continue to have them spending time with them and working with them and getting stronger and faster and bigger.

And even having another year with our -- Isaac's our nutrition guy that does an awesome job. He's only been here for this one year, and get another chance to get those guys -- and like I say we just -- I already -- I spent the whole -- ever since I was done this morning we've been talking with 2020 and 21s on the phone, getting those guys to call us and spend time with them and invite them to come in January and February and we're going to go by and see them.

On His Recruiting Pitch to Recruits:

 I think it's a huge plus, because you sit down with a young man now that we've recruited, and I was involved in that recruiting as the head coach. I know his family. I've sat in his living room.

I know grandma, aunts and uncles and siblings. And before I'd never even met them. We have seniors on our team, just because of the nature how it works, you just don't know them. They may be from a different state.

And so there's no question that I think that that's a big part of that. And I'll be honest with you, that's kind of part of my mindset with the possibility of not being the play-caller on defense on game day, even though I'll always stay very involved with defense. That's never going to change.

But the ability to have the time to be able to be with our players and meet with our players and invest more in our players, I think it's important, because once again it's not -- I never understood as a high school coach, and I definitely don't understand it today, when a guy says or a coach ever says that we have to derecruit a guy once we get him on campus.

I've heard that a bunch of times. And all that tells me is that whatever I sold you on during the recruiting process, when you get here, that ain't how it's going to be. Well, to me that should never be that way.

Now, if I'm honest with them and I'm genuine and I'm real with them, the same guy that recruited him is the same guy that's going to coach him. That's not always the case.

So, there's no question that you have got to eliminate whatever you did in high school because that doesn't mean anything now. I get all that. But as far as how you treat them and how you talk to them, to me different. But I'm telling you that's not the case.

But to me, when you're so wrapped up in schema all the time, I can't -- one of my strengths is relationship building, I can't do that as well as I want to.

I feel like you've got to balance that. I always say I'm always going to be involved on defense, that's my heart and passion, and all that for sure. But I also want to be able to be the father figure that I want to be to these young men during the day and during the week and during game week, when things are really crazy and the schedule's tight and everything's a lot going on.

And so I just want to make sure that I can have a good feel for the whole team and whether it's specialist or offense or defense. And really be able to dive into it and be more connected that way. That's kind of how I see that.

But I do think when you know them better, yeah. So it all to me can be a positive thing, to be able to help me hold guys accountable. And sometimes it's being tough on them, too. But I'll tell them that the recruiting process. Because I tell them coaching and parenting is the same. There's going to be tough love at times. There's going to be discipline. There's going to be putting an arm around the guy, crying with them, laughing with them, whatever, but that's part of a family. That's what relationships are all about.

So to me the more I can do that and the more it can be me -- because I think we have to get mentally tougher and physically tougher. And that's part of, once again, I can push guys harder and be tougher on them, the more connected I am with them. And the more I am -- that they really know and understand and have spent some time with me to help them grow as a man and work through life. And that's just part of what we deal with as coaches. And you get guys here and they gotta go to class and deal with issues and handle all that's going on. And I think that's a part of all that goes into being a coach. And I want to be the best I can be at all that.