As we've mentioned before, coach Kevin Wilson has been putting together a very solid draft class. Wilson has had a pretty heavy focus on defense, which needs nearly a complete overhaul.
When figuring out the depth chart next summer, no one should be a lock to start on defense. As a unit, they were awful all season and an infusion of talent and a rethinking of of philosophy should help.
We previously went over the top of the 2013 Class. Those players will all push to start from the moment they step on campus. All are ranked as 4-star prospects with a fair amount of potential.
Today, we take a look at the 3-star prospects that have signed with IU. These players will certainly add depth, but most of them will be projects that should improve over time.
Class of 2013
Kristopher Smith, OLB – Flowery Branch, GA
Smith just signed with the Hoosiers this week, so we'll take the time to discuss this potential impact linebacker. He is exceptional at outside run support and a very good tackler. Smith is also good at shedding blockers and can be disruptive when rushing the quarterback. He is solid in coverage and shows a lot of potential, but will need to put on a bit more mass. He might not be an immediate starter, but should be able to make an impact early on.
Issac Griffith, WR – Fort Wayne, IN – Homestead
Griffith is a very solid possession receiver, but it would be wrong to say he can't do more. He also has a lot of speed and is a very good route runner. He is the kind of player that has just enough talent to make an impressive catch and make the first defender miss. Griffith is also very good at exploiting defenders, either in man or zone coverage. He won't make an impact right away on offense as there is a plethora of wide receivers in front of him, but in a year or two he will more than likely be a solid receiver for IU.
Jacobi Hunter, DT – Houston, TX – Cypress Falls High School
Hunter is a solid, if undersized interior defender. He is primarily a run stopper and has excellent control despite his size. He is listed at 6-0 and 285 lbs. You generally want a DT to be a little bit taller and bigger. His height limits his reach which doesn't allow him to separate from blockers as easily. He does a great job with his body size and is good at clogging rushing lanes. He is another project on a thin defensive line.
Clyde Newton, ATH – Punta Gorda, FL – Charlotte High School
Newton plays both running back and linebacker in high school. It is more likely that he will play linebacker, but he is equally talented at both positions. He can be a solid defender in both man and zone coverage. As a ball carrier, he can be a primary back and is strong enough to move the pile and get tough yards in the fourth quarter. We still expect him to play linebacker, but he will probably be red-shirted this fall.
T.J. Simmons, ILB – Lakeland FL – Lakeland High School
Simmons is a very intelligent middle linebacker. He is exceptional at diagnosing plays, doesn't fall for misdirection plays, and has the physical talent to be an impact player. Simmons is a very good at creating havoc in the backfield. He is more of an attacking linebacker and isn't as good in coverage. He will take some time to develop, but should be a good contributor in a few years.
Anthony Young, WR – Lakewood, OH – Saint Edward High School
Young is a very fast receiver with a ton of potential. He is definitely a project and need to add some muscle. He isn't a very good blocker and really needs to work on developing his catching ability. His hands are good, but he has issues with finding the ball and bringing it in for a catch. With time and effort, he will be a formidable receiver, but it won't be right away. Thankfully, IU has plenty of depth at receiver. He also plans to run track for the Hoosiers.
Marcus Oliver, ILB – Hamilton, OH – Hamilton High School
Oliver is a high motor, intense linebacker. He is a solid defender against the run and pass. He is another defensive player who's biggest attribute is his tackling ability (something Indiana sorely needs). He appears to be the kind of player who will either make a big tackle behind the line of scrimmage or tackle a player hard after coming from the other side of the field. He could have an early impact on special teams.
Danny Friend, TE – Morris, IL – Morris High School
Friend is a huge tight end, 6-5 240 lbs, and sounds like he is built much like Ted Bolser. He has very good hands and shows a nack for catching the ball even with a defender making contact. He doesn't have the speed to do much after the catch, but does a good job of plowing ahead and using his bulk to get yards after contact. He probably won't play much his freshman season, but looks to be the next in line to take over after Bolser.
Evan Jansen, TE – Cincinnati, OH – Moeller High School
Jansen is the prototypical in-line tight end. He needs to work on his technique and is not able to effectively block defensive linemen one-on-one but is a good at chipping in and can take on a linebacker. It appears that he hasn't been asked to do much as far as receiving. His hands are solid but he isn't all that good of a route runner. He may just be limited to a blocking tight end that could find a job as a run blocker.
All of the 3-star recruits will be long term projects. Some will find a spot on special teams in the coming year, and maybe see the field if IU manages a blowout. If injuries hit the Hoosiers, a few may be asked to step up.
These recruits are generally not asked to make an impact right away. This will be a shift for IU as they typically don't get many 4-star recruits, but now it appears that they will be able to take the time to develop these less talented players.
Wilson and his staff are still hitting the recruiting trail hard. Next week, we'll take a look at some of the JUCO transfers and who is still looking at Indiana.
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