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?
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.