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Celebrate the Moment
If you're simply celebrating the addition of a great player to next year's crop of recruits, you're missing the bigger picture.
Hoosier football fans were crushed this year when the team didn't make a bowl game. More than crushed, they were angry. Another season full of sky-high expectations ended with the same old result. While calling for at least one coach's job is easily understandable, fans need to step back and at least appreciate the unfathomable success of Kevin Wilson's recruiting efforts.
The rivals recruiting database goes back over a decade to 2002. During that time, Gerry DiNardo, Terry Hoeppner, and Bill Lynch combined for exactly one four-star recruit. One.
In Wilson's first two full years recruiting, he has already pulled in seven. More importantly, five of those were homegrown products. Not only is Wilson the first IU coach in the online recruiting era to sign four-star players, he is the first coach to make IU the "it" destination for local talent.
Last year, Indiana claimed a larger percentage of the state's top ten players than any other university. Here is a look at the local four-star products who have recently decided to stay home:
Antonio Allen: S, Indianapolis, IN
national ranking: 231
notable offers: Michigan State, Ole Miss, Wisconsin
(Allen was also the first IU recruit to play in the Army All-American game which has been played for 13 years.)
David Kenney: DE, Indianapolis, IN
national ranking: 244
notable offers: Ole Miss, Nebraska, Tennessee
Darius Latham: DT, Indianapolis, IN
national ranking: 239
notable offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Tennessee
2014 (so far):
Dominique Booth: WR, Indianapolis, IN
notable offers: Alabama, California, Florida State, Missouri, Texas A&M
Tim Gardner: OL, Indianapolis, IN
notable offers: Ohio State, Louisville
It's not just that Kevin Wilson is signing a few highly rated athletes either. His clear method of pulling top in-state talent, and then supplementing the class with high quality out of state players is paying off. Since 2002, Indiana's recruiting classes have ranked an average of 11.2 in the B1G out of 12 teams. Their best class ever was in 2009 when they finished ninth in the conference. Wilson blew that mark away last year as Indiana's recruiting class finished an unheard of fourth in the B1G behind only Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska.
As rivals recruiting expert Josh Helmholdt remarked while discussing the recent commitment of Dominique Booth:
“That 2013 class was the best recruiting class they’ve ever brought into Indiana at least going back as far as the rivals rankings are concerned and probably even further.”
So if you find yourself swearing off Indiana football again this off-season, at least take some comfort in their off the field success. You can question in-game coaching all you want, but it is a fact that Kevin Wilson is the best recruiting coach the school has had in a decade, and it's not even close. Most coach's would agree on-field success starts with recruiting. Furthermore, they would concur that the results of improved recruiting are not immediately realized on the field (especially with defensive players). Wilson now has one top-five class with a year under their belts. After next year (the Hoosiers are currently ranked seventh according to rivals), he will have two solid classes with collegiate experience.
When you're the losingest team in college football history you've got to start somewhere. Wilson is the man for the job, and he's starting in the right place.