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Hoosiers wrap up solid National Signing Day

Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2012, at 6:31 PM

National signing day is a lot like Christmas morning for college football coaches and for Indian, Santa was pretty good to them this year.

Both schools signed 25 players for the upcoming season and the Hoosiers actually already have six players that have enrolled and are attending classes already.

After a disappointing first season with the Hoosiers, head coach Kevin Wilson knew he needed to make quick improvements, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Not surprisingly, that is exactly where his staff spent most of their recruiting efforts and it has paid off.

IU tapped into the junior college ranks to find some players that are perceived as physically and mentally more prepared to contribute right away for the Hoosiers this season. That strategy has already paid some dividends with the early enrollees that have been a part of offseason workouts with the Hoosiers.

On the defensive side of the ball, IU picked up a pair of linebackers from the JUCO ranks in 6'2, 230 lbs. Jacarri Alexander out of Iowa Central Community College and David Cooper, a 6'0, 230 lbs. inside linebacker out of one of the nation's top JUCO programs, Coffeyville (Kansas) C.C.

Cooper had offers from Iowa State, Minnesota and Louisiana-Lafayette and put up some impressive numbers with 102 tackles, 13 for loss, recovered three fumbles and had two sacks. Co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Ekeler has commented on how impressive a physical specimen he is and that he's very explosive, which the IU defense sorely lacked last season.

Alexander is much of the same with good size and reportedly ran a 4.6 40-yard dash and benched 225, 23 times during the Hoosiers combine recently. He had the power to play some defensive end in JUCO and had 78 tackles, six sacks and forced three fumbles last season.

The Hoosiers have also made some great strides with some of the state's top high school programs, including Warren Central. IU tapped the Warriors ranks to pick up linebacker Jordan Wallace, a 6'1, 215 lbs. player who should translate to an outside linebacker for the Hoosiers.

The defensive line was also an area of need for IU and as most coaches will tell you, there is no such thing as having too many linemen on your roster.

Five different linemen committed to the Hoosiers and three of them are listed as three-stars and two are credited with two-star ratings, but IU has branched out in where they are pulling some of these players.

Raphael Green, a 6'5, 338 lbs. tackle out of Texas already has the physical size to play along with Alex Todd, a 6'4, 290 lbs. tackle out of Ohio.

Green had offers from Colorado, the University of Houston, Missouri and New Mexico. Obviously the talent pool in the Longhorn State is vast so getting a talented player out of that state certainly helps the Hoosiers.

Also committing to the Hoosiers was Nick Mangieri, a three-star from Illinois, who will have to transition to defensive end after playing OLB and tight end. He had offers from Boston College, Illinois and Northwestern. At 6'5, 245 lbs., Mangieri has the build to add quality weight and become a pass rushing threat.

New Castle's Adam Kranda (6'5, 250 lbs.) is rated at a three-star defensive end and also has the build to add quality weight. Alex Todd is a 6'4, 290 lbs. tackle out of Ohio and Justin Rayside (6'3, 250 lbs.) fills out the class with another end that adds some explosiveness. Carmel's Shawn Heffern (6'6, 243 lbs.) could be the gem of it all and also had an offer from Purdue. He has great athleticism for his size and was a disruptive force for Carmel.

One of the biggest coups of this class comes on the offensive side of the ball as IU got a steal in running back Tevin Coleman out of Illinois.

Coach Wilson actually compared him favorably with DeMarco Murray, now with the Dallas Cowboys, whom Wilson coached while at Oklahoma. IU had to fight off Michigan State down the stretch for Coleman's services.

The 6'1, 195 lbs. back from Oak Forest, Ill. rushed for 948 yards and 21 touchdowns, but was recruited by many schools to be a safety and that played into IU's favor. He had offers from Georgia Tech, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Syracuse as well as the Spartans.

Running backs coach Deland McCullough told InsideIU.com that Coleman ran a 10.5 in the 100-meter dash and long jumped 24-feet in a track meet that he saw last spring.

The Hoosiers added a pair of intriguing quarterback prospects in this class to fill the spots left by Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker, who left the program this winter.

Nathan Sudfeld, a 6'5, 215 lbs. signal caller From Modesto (Calif.) Christian, is a highly regarded drop back passer, ranking No. 20 in the country in that category. He originally had committed to Arizona, but joined the Hoosiers after his recruiter, Seth Littrell, joined the IU staff. Sudfeld threw for 2,332 yards, 29 TD's and just nine interceptions while completing 57 percent of his passes.

Cameron Coffman, 6'2, 180 lbs.) also had connections to Arizona after playing at Arizona Western College after playing his prep ball in Missouri.

He led his team to a berth in the NJCAA championship game as a freshman and completed 69 percent of his throws for 2,244 yards, 21 TD's and six interceptions.

Wide receiver has quickly become a position that IU has become known for developing and the Hoosiers pulled in some more talented prospects led by a pair of Indy-area players.

Warren Central's Kevin Davis (6'0, 170 lbs.) is a three-star that averaged better than 20 yards per catch and had 11 touchdowns in the Warriors run-heavy offense. He's got a great work ethic according to coaches and his strengths are his route running and his hands.

Ben Davis' Caleb Cornett (6'3, 175 lbs.) needs to bulk up, but has drawn comparisons to another former Giant in Tandon Doss.

The final piece was Ricky Jones, a 5'10, 170 lbs. athlete out of Florida that committed just a week ago, but his playmaking ability led him to be used in the slot for his high school team.

Indiana produced several of the offensive line signees for the Hoosiers.

Jason Springs (6'6, 255 lbs.) out of Concord, Jacob Bailey (6'4, 265 lbs.) of Indianapolis Cathedral and Wesley Rogers (6'5, 270 lbs.) of Lawrence Central are all three-star prospects. Dan Feeney is a 6'4, 300 lbs. prospect out of Orland Park, Ill. and Dimitric Camiel (6'6, 290 lbs.) is from Houston, Texas.

While the Hoosiers are currently listed as having pulled in the No. 60 national recruiting class according to 24/7 Sports, several critics believe that several players in the class are expected to outperform their current rankings. Plus, many services don't take into consideration how JUCO players are rated as part of a class.

Not surprisingly, new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer made a splash by quickly putting the Buckeyes at the top of the recruiting ranks ahead of Michigan. Both schools are listed as having landed a top-10 national class. Purdue is listed as having the No. 7 class in the Big 10 led by four-star defensive lineman Ryan Watson out of Maryland. He also had offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, East Carolina and Connecticut.



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