Football coverage has been sparse in recent weeks. The disappointment from the 1-11/0-8 season, the surprising success of the basketball team, and a finite number of hours in the week have conspired against me. Still, in essence, the 2012 season begins tomorrow morning when national letters of intent begin drifting in to various football offices around the country. Spring practice won't be far behind.
First, however, it's worth taking a look at the changes to the IU staff. Offensive coordinator Rod Smith, who was available last year because he lost his job when Michigan fired Rich Rodriquez, left IU to rejoin Rodriguez at Arizona. In a fairly unusual coincidence, IU has hired Seth Littrell, who was Smith's predecessor at Arizona and who lost his job with the purge of Mike Stoops and his staff in Tucson. Littrell spent 2011 as the offensive coordinator and 2010 as the co-offensive coordinator. Although Littrell is on the career rebound, his offenses were not Arizona's problem: in 2011, the Wildcats ranked #16 in FBS in total offense, #30 in scoring offense, and #3 in passing offense. In 2010, Arizona ranked #24 in total offense, #53 in scoring offense, and #8 in passing offense. Last year, Smith and wide receivers coach Kevin Johns were co-offensive coordinators; this season, Littrell will be the sole offensive coordinator, although Johns retains the title of "assistant offensive coordinator."
In addition, defensive ends coach Brett Diersen has resigned and is now at Florida Atlantic. Diersen has been replaced by a coaching veteran, John Fabris. Fabris, who will coach the entire defensive line, was defensive ends coach at Georgia from 2001-09, and his prior stops include working for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame and South Carolina, and for Bill Snyder at Kansas State. He also spent the 2000 season in the NFL, working for the Cleveland Browns. He seems like a very good addition.
But, back to recruiting. According to Rivals, the Hoosiers have 25 commitments for 2012, and this class is much heavier on junior college transfers than have been other IU classes. That's fine with me. It also means that seven of IU's 25 recruits are already signed and/or enrolled. IU isn't in the Rivals top 50, but the #50 class, Maryland's, has 23 members and 18 three stars. IU's class has 25 members and 18 three stars, so presumably IU's class is in that ball park. (This seems to be confirmed by Scout, which ranks IU's class #50). The highest rated of the already enrolled jucos, according to Rivals, is defensive back Antonio Marshall, who also had offers from Iowa State and Washington State. Also of note: of the seven juco recruits, quarterback Cameron Coffman is the only offensive player. Of the currently unsigned high school players, the top rated recruits (all three stars with a 5.7 rating) are Kevin Davis, a 5-11 receiver from Warren Central in Indianapolis; Tevin Coleman, a running back from Oak Forest, Illinois; and Nick Mangieri, a defensive end from Dunlap, Illinois. Despite the rough season, IU has continued to recruit reasonably well since the end of the 2011 season. Coleman committed on January 9, and IU also has added quarterback Nathan Sudfeld of Modesto, California (who also had an offer from Arizona); offensive tackle Dimitric Camiel (who had offers from Arizona State, Mississippi State, and Kansas); and wide receiver Ricky Jones, whose Rivals page shows a boatload of major offers. Of course, particularly with out-of-state kids who have had previous interest from major programs, it's always important to wait until signing day to consider them in-hand.
I'll have updates throughout the day tomorrow, and hopefully there will be at least 25 new Hoosiers by tomorrow.