(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)
“We do not back down from anybody” – Tom Allen
The 2019 class is the highest rated class in Indiana football history based on 247Sports rankings. The staff has put together a very balanced class that will be able to make an immediate impact in numerous positions. This is the second consecutive top 50 recruiting class for the Hoosiers, and there is plenty of excitement surrounding the Indiana football program. Let’s get to know the “New Wave” coming to Indiana this summer.
Originally a 2018 Utah commit, Tuttle comes to Indiana with four years of eligibility. He isn’t officially part of the 2019 class because he is considered a transfer. Tuttle would be Indiana’s highest rated recruit in this class with a .9321 247sports rating, making him a 4-star recruit. This would make him the 2nd highest recruit in Indiana history. He was considered the 167th highest recruit in the nation and 8th best quarterback. Every school in the country was interested in bringing Tuttle on campus and offers extended included Alabama, LSU, USC, and Wisconsin.
The quarterback room might be the best it has ever been at Indiana and the competition is going to be fierce. If Tuttle wins the position, he could very well be the reason that Indiana moves from an average team to one that could compete for bowls and even championships. He comes in with great mechanics, a huge arm, and quick enough feet to extend plays.
The surprise of this recruiting class is former Ohio State commit Sampson James. The all too familiar trend of Big Ten powerhouses coming into the state of Indiana and cherry picking the best players seemed to materialize once again with James. After a tough loss to Ohio State during this past season, the coaching staff got a huge surprise when James decided to decommit and stay at home where he played high school football (Avon). James is currently the second highest rated recruit in Indiana history with a .9255 247sports rating making him a 4-star talent. He was ranked as the 181st player nationally and 10th best running back. James could have gone just about anywhere in the nation; he received offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Georgia, and Michigan.
Tom Allen needed a big commit from the home state to prove to the Indianapolis area that Indiana was an up-and-coming program. With an already strong running back room, James will provide Indiana with a complete four down back, and don’t be surprised if you see him playing special teams as a kickoff returner. Running back coach Mike Hart said, “Sampson was the hardest guy I have ever recruited…he is going to be special for us.”
Coach Hart described Winters as a big, fast, and physical running back. Winters has a .8560 247sports ranking making him a 3-star recruit, ranked 971st player in the nation, and the 62nd rated running back. He had offers from Kentucky and Purdue.
Winters played high school at Hayti located in Missouri which is a lower level high school program, but he absolutely dominated scoring 59 touchdowns his senior year. Winters only played running back for one season; before his senior season he was a wide receiver. He could be a great 1-2 punch with Sampson for the next 4 to 5 years.
Indiana football has been home to a lot of big receivers throughout the last few years. Jakes fits that mold and has the potential to be the next great wide receiver at Indiana. He played high school football for Saint Frances Academy located in McDonough, Georgia. He has a 247sports ranking of .8472, 3-star recruit, and the 138th rated wide receiver in the country. Jakes held around 20 offers including Michigan, Michigan State, and North Carolina.
Jakes has a large catch radius and can get the jump balls over smaller defenders. He also has great hands and has a unique ability to get open. If Jakes redshirts this year, he has an opportunity to be a four-year starter.
Originally a Central Michigan commit, Ellis ultimately decided to sign with the Hoosiers. His recruitment really started to heat up towards the end of November, and many schools tried luring Ellis from Indiana. He played high school football at Chippewa Valley in Clinton Township, Michigan. Ellis is ranked 865th best prospect nationally and the 105th best wide receiver with a .8607 247sports ranking.
He is to be compared to Reese Taylor’s skill set, which is great news for both fans and the coaching staff. Expect Ellis to find a place on numerous special teams as he works with the speed and conditioning staff.
Wisconsin is not a place that Indiana has done a lot of recruiting, but they went up north and hauled in the best athlete in the state. Brown played high school football at Saint Catherine’s out of Racine, Wisconsin. He was ranked the 730th best product in the country, 43rd best athlete, with a 247sports rating of .8671 making him a 3-star recruit. His top offers include Iowa, Iowa State, and Wisconsin.
A former quarterback in high school, Brown can play a multitude of positions. He will begin his Indiana career at wide receiver and special teams. He has a unique ability to make plays in space and has breakaway speed. It will be interesting to see where Brown ends up, but Indiana has another speed guy that can fill in a lot of positions for depth before he finds a full-time home.
It is no secret that Coach DeBoer’s offensive philosophy includes multiple tight ends on the field. Copper has a lot of ability: he is a physical blocker, fluid route runner, and natural receiver. He attended Columbus High School in Miami, Florida. Cooper has a .8460 247sports rating, 3-star recruit, ranked 1240 player in the nation, and 56th rated tight end. He was highly coveted by numerous universities including Michigan, Florida, and Oklahoma.
Unlike the last few years, the tight end position is going to be consistently utilized all over the field. Cooper has the ability to start–or at least push for playing time next year–because of the two tight end system. He has a ton of upside that makes difficult plays look easy and is hard to take down after the catch.
Weaver brings great size and athleticism to Bloomington this summer. He is a 6’5”, 285-pound tackle from Saucon Valley High school located in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. Weaver is ranked as a 3-star recruit, 1683 nationally, and 142nd tackle in the country. Indiana was able to pull Weaver away from Rutgers as their 20th recruit in the 2019 class. Weaver has all the tools to become a starter for the Hoosiers over time. He will probably move down to an interior lineman to increase his chances to play earlier. Weaver will contribute to the Indiana program, but it might be in 2-3 years as the Hoosier staff expects offensive lineman to play multiple positions across the line.
Katic is a typical type of interior offensive lineman for Indiana. He has good size at 6’4, and 270 pounds that will start his career at the center position. Katic played high school football for Pine-Richland in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. 247sports had him ranked as the 1116 best player in the nation, 3-start recruit, 59th best guard, and a rating of .8506. Indiana battled Syracuse, Boston College, and Virginia to add Katic to their 2019 recruiting class.
It is very rare for an offensive lineman to be able to play in the Big Ten as a freshman. Katic is a mid-year enrollee so that will help his development with a few extra months of strength and conditioning. Indiana fans can hope that they will see him in 2020 at center replacing senior Hunter Littlejohn.
IU went down into SEC country to try to pull out an athletic tackle to add to the 2019 class. In normal years this would have been a waste of time, but things have changed, and Bedford is a Hoosier. He is a 6’5”, 260-pound offensive tackle that played high school at Cordova High School in Cordova, Tennessee. Bedford is ranked 617 top prospects nationally, 3-star recruit, 48th best tackle, and a 247sports ranking of .8626. Indiana battled both Mississippi state and South Carolina to land him. Indiana football couldn’t be prouder of the Matthew Bedford commitment. Indiana fans will love to see this young man continue to improve, and no doubt he’ll be a household name.
Again, recruiting within Indiana and especially the Indianapolis area is a focus for this football staff. Tracy played his high school career at Decatur Central. Many fans either didn’t know or have forgotten that Tracy was once an Iowa commit. He is the second in-state recruit that was committed to another Big Ten school but was later convinced to stay home. Tracy was considered the 883rd best player in the nation, 3-star recruit, 78th best cornerback, and had a 247sports rating of .8600. Tracy had offers from Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota to name a few.
Leading his team to the Indiana state championship game as a Senior solidified his stellar high school career. Tracy is capable of playing numerous special teams and contributing on defense early in his career. He could be a 2-3 year starter on defense if he reaches his potential.
Indiana football has struck gold once again in the sunshine state. Sanguinetti is a 6’2” safety out of University School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He comes in as a 3-star, top 500 player nationally, and top 50 player at the safety position. He held over 30 offers from schools such as Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Penn State. Indiana is building a top-notch safety group. Sanguinetti is going to be somebody that plays at least the four games allowed to redshirt, but no one should be surprised if he finds himself in a rotation at safety and is a key player on special teams.
Tiawan Mullen is to Florida as Sampson James is to Indiana; getting him out of Florida was huge for Indiana football. Mullen was ranked 549th nationally, 3-star recruit, 55th top rated corner, and a 247sports rating of .8783. His top offers were from TCU, Mississippi State, and Kansas State. Make no mistake about it: Mullen knows he is going to be a future star at Indiana. Mullen is going to come in right away and have a chance to compete. He is going to at least play the four games allowed to still redshirt, but Hoosier fans could also see him in a rotation in some packages at corner. Mullen was an absolute steal for Indiana and is going to continue to build on a very skilled and experienced secondary.
Bonhomme might be the most interesting recruit in the 2019 class. He was born in Haiti and spent most of his childhood in Canada. He wanted college exposure, so he moved to Florida and played his senior season at Clearwater Academy International High School. He was ranked 749th nationally, 34th best inside linebacker, and a 247sports ranking of .8668. His top offers included Rutgers, UCF, and Nebraska.
Coach Wommack is very excited to add a long athlete to the mix on defense. After watching his film, Indiana should feel incredibly grateful that Bonhomme was not a four-year player in the United States. His athletic ability and length would have garnered him more attention and other offers from around the country. A lot of people will know his name in 2-3 years and will wonder where he came from.
Williams is another huge in-state recruit that the Hoosiers had to battle Purdue for until signing day. This one is a little different than the other three in-state recruits; the Hoosier staff was able to go up the region to recruit Williams out of Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana. He is ranked 301st nationally ranked, 18th best outside linebacker, and a 247sports rating of .9004. His top offers included Purdue, North Carolina, and Boston College.
Williams is a 6’3” athlete that can fly and has a great nose for the ball. Williams would fit great into the husky position, but with the talent already consuming those positions, the weakside linebacker spot could be calling his name in his early years at Indiana. You might even see him on passing downs being an edge rusher, trying to get pressure on the quarterback. Indiana has always had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback; this might change with two in-state guys (Cameron Williams and Madison Norris). Both were state hurdle finalists.
Indiana Hoosiers went to IMG Academy in Florida–one of the best high school football programs in the nation–and was able pluck one of their top players. Whitner is a 6’4”, 295-pound athlete that can play both sides of the ball but will start his career on the defensive line. He was ranked 981st nationally, 53rd best offensive guard, with a 247sports ranking of .8559 making him a 3-star recruit. His top offers included Virginia Tech, Oregon, and Florida.
Tom Allen couldn’t stop gushing about what kind of player Indiana was getting with Whitner. The best word to describe Whitner would be ‘solid.’ He is going to be a guy that sees the field for 2-3 years and will be able to compete at the highest competition level.
A familiar name to Indiana fans, Harris was initially in Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class. Things did not go as planned, and he decided to transfer. A year and a half later Harris is back where he belongs in an Indiana uniform. Harris is an enormous man at 6’3” 360 pounds; he will help Indiana out instantly on the defensive line. In 2017 he was ranked as the 880th best player nationally, 62nd best defensive tackle, and a 247Sports rating of .8486 making him a 3-star recruit.
Harris is different than most recruits as Indiana fans already know what he can do on the field. He was able to compete and play as a true freshman. Harris demands a double team, allowing Indiana linebackers to make more plays. Indiana has huge plans for Harris and honestly, they need him to be great. They lost five rotation players at the defensive line position from last year. Harris could be (and is expected to be) a true star at Indiana.
Indiana wasted no time in offering Robbins; he was the first defensive line offer for the 2019 class. Robbins a 6’4”, 238-pound product of Carmel High School is the 256th nationally ranked player, 16th best weakside defensive end prospect, and a 247sports rating of .9070 making him a 4-star recruit. He’s a top 5 in-state recruit, and top offers included Purdue, Michigan State, and Nebraska.
Robbins will have the opportunity to play early in his career. He possesses the unique ability to be a 4 down defensive lineman. This would indicate that he is good against the run but also can get after the quarterback in passing situations. If he does play four or less games and redshirts next year, he will have the ability to be a four-year starter at Indiana.
Tom Allen has pulled another great addition to the 2019 class from Florida. Passmore played high school football at Columbus High School. He is a 6’2”, 250-pound strongside defensive end that will initially start his Indiana career at defensive end but could move to defensive tackle throughout his career. Passmore is ranked as the 948th nationally, 63rd highest rated strong side defensive end, and an .8572 247sports ranking. Top offers included Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Boston college.
At the National Signing Day preview, Coach Hagen commented on how Passmore will be a future captain for the Hoosiers. This might be the highest compliment that can be giving to a recruit, especially by his position coach. A captain is not always the best player, but he is willing to do whatever necessary for the success of the team. Passmore will need a year or seasoning but could be a large contributor for the 2020 season.
It’s not every day that a 300-pound defensive tackle is athletic enough to play the three technique. Person has a tremendous motor that will allow him to reach the potential that the Hoosier staff believes he holds. Person played high school in Montgomery, Alabama at Montgomery Catholic Preparatory. He is considered the 82nd best defensive tackle in the nation, with a 247sports ranking of .8485 classifying him as a 3-star recruit. He had offers from schools such as Air Force, Mississippi State, and Purdue. Person put up impressive stats his senior year of high school: 34 tackles for loss and 11 ½ sacks. He has the chance to be a solid player for Indiana. His motor and athletic ability gives him every chance to have a successful college career.
Indiana has claimed their first American Samoan football player Sio Nofoagatoto’a. Nofoagatoto’a played high school at Clearwater Academy International in Florida. He is ranked as the 1260th top prospect in the nation, 87th best defensive tackle, and has a 247sports ranking of .8452 considering him a 3-star recruit. His top offers included Arizona, West Virginia, and Nebraska.
Nofoagatoto’a will be playing the nose position or often called the 1. He will demand a double team because of his size. Nofoagatoto’a is 6’2”, and 320 pounds that is athletic and strong. He is a guy that could see the field in a rotation as soon as he lands on the Bloomington campus.
Throughout Coach Allen’s tenure he has made specialty positions a staple in recruiting. This year was no different, and the Hoosier staff went out and snagged the 7th rated long snapper in the county. Wracher is a guy that will have a chance to come in right away and be the starting long and short snapper. In many recruiting sites he is considered to be a 5-star recruit.
Time will tell how the team performs in the upcoming season, but it’s hard not to be excited and optimistic about the future of IU football. Tom Allen and staff recruited players that could have gone anywhere, and this is the best recruiting class Indiana football has ever had. The future looks bright for the Hoosiers.