NCF On The Trail: Dominique Booth

Kevin Wilson keeps bringing well-regarded recruiting classes to Indiana, including Wednesday's group. Will it lead to more wins and a bowl game? I caught up with the head Hoosier for this signing day Q&A:

Brian Bennett: What were your priorities in this class?

[+] EnlargeKevin Wilson
AJ Mast/Icon SportswireKevin Wilson has expanded IU's recruiting base well beyond the Midwest.
Kevin Wilson: We were able to sign a full allotment. We didn't take as many linebacker types because we played some young linebackers like Tegray Scales, Greg Gooch and Clyde Newton as freshmen and sophomores. We got four good O-linemen, so we have some depth on the O-line now. We signed five or six receivers, and that position for sure needs to pick up. When you're signing 24, you get a little bit of everything.

I also think the running back situation was big. With Tevin Coleman declaring and to get Jordan Howard [as a transfer from UAB] --it really doesn't count in the recruiting services, but he was seventh in the nation in yards per game last year. So to lose the No. 2 rusher and get the No. 7 guy who's proven was huge.

BB: ESPN Recruiting lists several of your signees as "athletes." Do you have some versatility and options in this class?

KW: You do. You've got six guys who played quarterback in high school, starting with Austin King, who was a traditional quarterback. He's a Georgia kid who played in the Valdosta/Hal Mumme/Mike Leach/Air Raid offense. He throws it well, like one of those classic spread high school quarterbacks. We've got five other kids who are quarterbacks but might be something else. Austin Dorris is 6-foot-5, 6-6 and we think he's going to be a tight end. Isaac James and Mike Majette were basically Wildcat quarterbacks, where they caught punts, ran back kicks, played slot receiver, tailback, quarterback as an athlete and defensive back. So these guys can play a number of positions, and a lot of them are good with the ball in their hands. So you might start some of them as receiver types.

We've got about 10 or 11 kids that are athletic defensive backs/wide receiver/quarterbacks. That group include Jonathan Crawford, Tyler Green, Jameel Cooks and Andre Browm. We're going to put about five or six on the perimeter on offense and five or six on the perimeter on defense. Just get them here in the summer, see who can change direction, see who can catch a ball and kind of plug them in.

BB: How pressing was the need at receiver?

KW: With Cody Latimer leaving a year ago, the position fell off a lot, along with the situation we had with the quarterback injuries. But that position has got to pick it up. J-Shun Harris, Dom Booth and Simmie Cobbs all played as freshmen last year. We signed Marqui Hawkins out of UAB -- he signed with Florida two years ago and was a highly rated kid. I'm really excited about Camion Patrick out of East Mississippi junior college and Leon Thornton out of Chicago. Both those kids are 6-2, 6-3. And that doesn't count Majette and James, who might be slot guys.

They're going to be young, there are going to be some growing pains, but that's a good skill group. For us to play well on offense, we have to have guys who play well in space. We'll see if we got 'em when they get here.

BB: You signed five players out of Florida. Was that an area you emphasized this time around?

KW: We signed nine and 10 the last two years out of Florida and Georgia. The thing that's kind of new this year is we signed three kids out of Washington, D.C., with running back Devonte Williams, Tyler Green -- who we could play as a big corner, out of Dematha -- and Majette out of Woodbridge, Va. That's really the first time we've taken three kids out of that DC area. I think that shows a little bit of the Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State influence in the Big Ten.

That wasn't by design; we were just well received by some good players. I don't know if that's going to be our trend, but this year I'd say that's a little bit different than where we've been.

BB: Finally, are there any "under-the-radar" recruits in this class you're particularly excited about?

KW: I don't know if anybody is "under the radar." We thought Tevin Coleman was pretty good. We thought Cody Latimer was pretty good. I think Camion Patrick is going to be really, really good. We'll see. I think three years in a row we have upgraded significantly in our ability to get some better guys.

Talent's getting better. But the first really strong class we had, with Antonio Allen and that crowd, those guys have one spring under their belts. They're in their fourth semester. So we've got bunch of young talent that we've got to get matured. This is a pretty solid, pretty strong class. I'd anticipate eight, 10, 12 of these guys will play for us this year.

Biggest flips: Big Ten 

February, 3, 2014
The 2014 class has seen a very high number of commitment switches during this recruiting cycle. With so many flips throughout the process, here is a look at some of the biggest in the Big Ten.

Big Ten recruiting roundtable

February, 3, 2014
National signing day is just 48 hours away. To get you ready, we checked in with our recruiting experts for their take on how the Big Ten is faring.

Senior national recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill and Big Ten recruiting reporter Tom VanHaaren spared time from their busy schedules to answer these questions:

Ohio State and Michigan again lead the way in the Big Ten recruiting rankings. How much late drama do you expect with those two programs?

[+] EnlargeMalik McDowell
Tom Hauck for ESPNDE Malik McDowell, No. 60 in the ESPN 300, could come down to a signing day decision between Ohio State and Michigan.
Tom VanHaaren: Probably not much for Michigan as it is really only targeting ESPN 300 defensive lineman Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield). McDowell visited Ohio State Jan. 31 and has hosted every head coach in his top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Florida State.

He will take his decision out to signing day, so there is a battle going on there, but there's still a chance he ends up at Michigan State or Florida State. He has kept everything close to the vest and it's anyone's guess as to where he ends up. Ohio State could have a little drama, but that happens when you land top ranked prospects.

Tom Luginbill: I really just expect to see where McDowell falls.

What other Big Ten programs have impressed you?

TL: Penn State and Wisconsin. Badgers coach Gary Andersen is adding more speed and athleticism to this class, including QB D.J. Gillins (Jacksonville, Fla./Ribault). They would love to close with CB Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation).

TVH: Michigan State has put together a good class. I really like ESPN 300 defensive back Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) for the Spartans defense. I think Northwestern has put together a really good class as well with three ESPN 300 commitments. The Wildcats added in-state defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook), which was a big get for them. Illinois did a lot to help fill immediate needs as well. The Illini lose four receivers and brought in some junior college prospects to compete right away.

How much impact has James Franklin made on Penn State's recruiting in a short time?

TVH: It seems to be all positive for now. It's not surprising that he has flipped so many Vanderbilt commitments to Penn State, because he was the coach who recruited them. The recruits, however, that have flipped will all tell you that he is the guy they want to play for. There is already some excitement in the 2015 class and in the Pennsylvania area, so I think Penn State fans are going to be very happy with what Franklin and his staff does in the near future.

TL: Significant, but it should be noted that Michael O'Connor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro) and Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del./Middletown) all enrolled early prior to his hire, but after Bill O’Brien departed, which tells you of their commitment to the program. Since his hiring, Penn State has added seven verbal commits, including flipping Rutgers commit WR Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) this past week.

How much of an effect, if any, has Michigan State's on-field success had in its recruiting so far?

TL: Minimal. They do what they do. The biggest myth is that they are made up of 2- and 3-star players, which is not true. It has been 4- or 3- star players the past three to four classes The Spartans develop players as well as anyone. They don’t give in to external pressures to recruit anyone and they identify not only good players, but the right players for them.

TVH: It had some impact in the 2014 class, but because that class was already almost over by the time the Spartans won the Rose Bowl, the real affect will likely be on 2015 and 2016 prospects. Michigan State already has one of the top in-state prospects committed with Kyonta Stallworth (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) and there is a realistic chance the Spartans could land most of the top prospects from the state of Michigan. They have already heard from some prospects that they otherwise would have been out of the running for, so I think 2015 could be where you see some of those affects.

How have Maryland and Rutgers done in recruiting, and are their efforts up to Big Ten standards?

TVH: Rutgers has suffered a lot of decommitments in the 2014 class. It seems like this is a whole new class from what it used to be. The most recent was Blacknall, who flipped to Penn State. Maryland has had a better time recruiting in this class, but is still outside the top 40 in the class rankings. The Terrapins have had a lot of injuries to deal with, so I think once they get healthy and get back on track they will start to see a little more success. Now that they're in the Big Ten they can tell local recruits that they can stay close to home and still play in big stadiums and on national television, which will be a big draw.

TL: Rutgers is crumbling. At one time they had four ESPN 300 prospects and all have decommitted. This is not a good start for the Knights heading into the Big Ten. We very much like the top third of Maryland’s class, and the middle third has upside, but there is a significant drop off in talent in the bottom third, in our opinion.

What teams do you view as disappointing with this class?

TL: Rutgers. The rest have essentially been as expected for the most part.

TVH: Can I cop out and give everyone a trophy? I don't think anyone has a really disappointing class. I imagine Rutgers' coaches aren't thrilled with the way things have gone, but for the Big Ten teams from this season I think most of them have done a really nice job filling needs and getting a few big recruits in the class.

Finally, name a few players who we can expect to have an immediate impact in the 2014 season.

TVH: Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) is probably the first name that sticks out. He is the No. 2-ranked prospect in the country for a reason and could end being an outstanding college football player once he's done. I expect him to play early in some capacity. Potentially, a guy like Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) at Indiana at receiver, running back Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn) if he sticks with Minnesota, Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) at Ohio State and maybe juco defensive lineman Joe Keels (Kenosha, Wisc./Highland (Kan.) Community College) at Nebraska.

TL: Peppers, (Ohio State LB) Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) and Jones, if he sticks.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

January, 13, 2014
We are almost out of the dead period, which ends on Jan. 15. That means things are starting to heat up for Big Ten teams on the recruiting trail. Here is a look at what happened throughout the conference this past week.

Biggest commitment:
Indiana landed ESPN 300 receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike), when he announced his decision on Jan. 7. Booth had been committed to Tennessee, but he decommitted and will now enroll early for the Hoosiers.

He is a big pickup for the Indiana offense and is a high ranking in-state prospect who coach Kevin Wilson and his staff are keeping home.

Nebraska also secured a wide receiver with Jariah Tolbert (New Orleans/Edna Karr) on Thursday. Tolbert joined his teammate, athlete Jaevon Walton, in Nebraska’s 2014 class.

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Midyear signings: Indiana adds three

January, 10, 2014
ESPN's Jared Shanker reported in December that tight end Jordan Fuchs (Middle Village, N.Y./Milford Academy), quarterback Alexander Diamont (Los Angeles/Venice) and guard DeAndre Herron (Avon, Ind./Iowa Western CC) signed with Indiana.

According to, three more recruits have joined the program:

Delroy Baker OT Ocala, Fla./West Port
HT: 6-6 WT: 259
Positional Rank: #33 OT
Stars: 3

Dominique Booth WR Indianapolis/Pike
HT: 6-0 WT: 196
Positional Rank: #32 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#232)

Tim Gardner OT Indianapolis/Milford Academy
HT: 6-4 WT: 310
Positional Rank: N/A Post-Grad
Stars: 3

Big Ten class rankings analysis 

January, 8, 2014

Ohio State has been on a roll on the recruiting trail in the past few weeks. The commitments the Buckeyes have landed, along with a few other happenings in the Big Ten, have impacted the class rankings.

Here is a look at the most recent trends within the Big Ten.

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ESPN 300 wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) committed to Indiana live on on Tuesday. The No. 232-ranked prospect chose the Hoosiers over Missouri and became commit No. 18 for Indiana.

Booth is the third receiver in the class for Indiana, but is the highest ranked of the three at No. 32 nationally.

He had been committed to Tennessee, but the two parted ways in early December.

Booth is an early enrollee and has already signed financial aid paperwork with the Hoosiers. The talented receiver signed the papers Dec. 15, but insisted he had not committed just yet.

Since he is an early enrollee, Booth wanted to make sure he secured a spot with Indiana so there wouldn’t be any issues once he made his commitment public.

At 6-foot, 196 pounds, Indiana is getting a physical receiver who could be an early contributor in coach Kevin Wilson’s offense. The Hoosiers are losing receivers Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes, so the addition of Booth is a big deal.

His ability on the field will allow him to play inside or outside at receiver and his versatility will shine through once given the opportunity. Booth is the first four-star commit for Indiana in the 2014 class with still a few spots remaining leading up to signing day.

Watch: Booth commits to Indiana

January, 6, 2014
ESPN 300 wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) committed to Indiana live on ESPN's RecruitingNation. Booth, the No. 232-ranked overall prospect and No. 33 wide receiver in the Class of 2014, turned down offers from the likes of Tennessee and Missouri.

Big Ten class rankings analysis 

December, 18, 2013

The Big Ten was on fire after landing eight commitments this week. Based on that, here was sure to be movement in the class rankings so here is a look at how the Big Ten stacks up.

Trending up

To say it has been a good week for Ohio State would be an understatement. The Buckeyes landed two top-50 prospects in the 2014 class with linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) and receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer).

Ohio State had already moved up to the No. 8 class in the country, and it is now sitting with the No. 5 class overall after the outstanding additions.

Purdue also needs some recognition as the Boilermakers have landed nine commitments in the month of December. Defensive back Ladarius Wiley (Los Angeles/Cathedral) is one of the most recent, and he could end up being a steal for Purdue.

The Boilermakers quickly went from having very few commitments to only having one spot remaining in their class.

Penn State is another team who rose in the rankings, moving up to No 24 from 26 with the addition of ESPN 300 defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln).

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Big 12 signing day storylines 

December, 17, 2013
Consider the countdown a go.

With 50 days from national signing day, a lot of questions about star players have been answered. Some questions, however, are still left to be answered.

Here are 10 signing day storylines that could affect recruiting classes throughout the Big 12:

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Big Ten recruiting storylines: Dec. 12 

December, 12, 2013
This is the last week before a dead period, which means coaches will be hosting important targets and visiting as many schools as they can.

There is plenty to discuss within the Big Ten, so here is a look at this week’s storylines.

Waiting for Raekwon

The No. 12 ranked prospect in the country, linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), is scheduled to annouce his decision Dec. 16.

The No. 1 ranked linebacker has Ohio State in his top three with Alabama and Clemson and will receive an in-home visit from the Buckeyes’ coaching staff.

The interesting part about this is there are plenty of rumors swiring around Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas. Those rumors have likely made their way to McMillan. Whether they impact his decision, or not, is a question that remains.

Booth picking up interest

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Big Ten class rankings analysis 

December, 11, 2013
There has been quite a bit of movement on the recruiting trail within the Big Ten. A few commits, decommits and decisions nearing which means it's time to take a look at the latest class rankings and trends for the conference for the Class of 2014.

Trending up:

Nebraska has been on a roll in recent weeks, picking up four commitments in December. Juco prospects Terrell Clinkscales (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City Community College), Byerson Cockrell (Columbus, Miss./East Mississippi Community College) and Joe Keels (Kenosha, Wisc./Highland community college) will all add immediate depth and competition at their position.

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Most important targets: Big Ten 

December, 10, 2013
The 2014 recruiting cycle is winding down toward signing day, which means teams will pick up the heat on their top remaining targets.

Here is a look at the most important prospects left for each team in the Big Ten.

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#AskLoogs: Grading Butch Jones

August, 22, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

As of now, I give them an “A”. The question is going to be whether the Vols can hold on. Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. With 24 total pledges -- and 10 in the ESPN 300 -- most of whom have no doubt been pursued by other SEC and ACC programs, Tennessee has hit the ground running in Butch Jones' first full recruiting year.

The class is littered with not only the best in Tennessee, but also with players who fill specific needs for the Vols. The juco ranks have been recruited hard for some maturity and experience, which is generally not the case at Tennessee. I think WR Dominique Booth will be a nice addition to Marquez North. RB Jalen Hurd could be a potential early impact guy.

What happens, though, if Tennessee hits see serious bumps in the road on the field? Will the Vols lose momentum? Are these commits banking on the future and not concerned about this fall? You can bet if things don’t go well, the chum will be in the water and the sharks will be circling, trying to peck away at Tennessee in order to get prospects to rethink their decisions. There is lots of time between now and February. Jones and his staff know full well that it will get harder once the season starts.
The receiver talent in Miami has been well documented. The same goes for Dallas and Los Angeles.

But Indianapolis is not typically known for producing stars out wide. The ones with the potential to be elite BCS-level receivers end up tossing a ball into a hoop rather than spiking it into the end zone. That changed with the 2014 class, though.

Four receivers from the Indianapolis area are going to nationally known programs. Justin Brent (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) committed to Notre Dame more than a year ago. Fellow ESPN 300 receivers Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) and Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) just committed this week to Tennessee and UCLA, respectively. And Indianapolis Cathedral receiver Terry McLaurin worked out for Ohio State twice and gave Urban Meyer little choice but to offer him. He committed days later.

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