Signing day eve.

Those who have read this blog for a while know that I'm not much of a recruiting follower. For basketball, I can keep track to some degree, but for football, the sheer number of players recruited as well as the greater difficulty in evaluating football players makes it a mind-numbing exercise for me. That said, Wednesday's signing day looks to be IU's best in years. I've been quite critical of Bill Lynch and the performance of the 2008 Hoosiers, so it's only fair to note that despite the on-field downturn, Lynch managed to hold together a solid recruiting class. While IU did not land any of the highly coveted four star or five star recruits, 15 of IU's 18 recruits are three star recruits, according to Rivals.com. This doesn't put IU in the upper echelon (IU's class currently ranks #58 nationally and ninth in the big Ten, ahead of Iowa and Purdue), but is a dramatic improvement over IU's recent classes. Since 2002 (as far back as the Rivals ratings go,) IU's best haul previously was 7 three star recruits in 2003. In every other season, the number has been between three and five. IU fans often joke that the best way for a three star recruit to turn into a two star is to commit to Indiana, so it is to this staff's credit that this class looks so good on paper.

Also, there is no doubt that IU is employing a close to home philosophy. Of IU's 18 commits, 17 are from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, or Michigan. The 18th is from Pennsylvania, within the Big Ten footprint. It will be interesting to see how IU under Lynch and Purdue, under new coach Danny Hope, compete both on the field and on the recruiting trail. From the looks of Purdue's class, they may not be moving in the same circles. Of Purdue's recruits, 13 are from Florida, none from Indiana, and a single recruit from Kentucky is the only Boiler commit who is from a state that is even contiguous to Indiana.

I don't mean to take this post in a "whose class is better" direction. IU's class is better in terms of star rankings, but there is such a glut of talent in places like Florida, Georgia, and Texas that many talented players are under the radar, and obviously Hope hopes that he has found those types of players. Still, I think Purdue's philosophy is good for IU. One of IU's great disadvantages has been being the #3 football school in a relatively small state. If Purdue simply declines to compete for Indiana kids, leaving IU as the first caller for good players who aren't quite good enough to get offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, etc., that's good. Again, that's not to say that one philosophy or the other is better. But it's long been conventional wisdom that it's tough for IU and Purdue to be good at the same time. In the last 25 years, Purdue was mostly horrible during the Mallory era, and IU was mostly horrible during the Tiller era. If Purdue is going to focus so heavily on outside recruits, that makes it more likely in my mind that both teams could be good at the same time.


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