The hoopla of signing day is over and now the Coaches can start to piece together their incoming class of in-state talent heading into the fall. We’ll take a look at the 9 college football scholarship programs that signed homegrown talent and offer a grade.
NOTRE DAME: A
The Irish signed 4 of the top prospects in our INPrep Top 50 Rankings. That includes the no.1 and no.2 ranked players in the state, in Linebackers Josh Barajas (Andrean) and Asmar Bilal (Ben Davis). Once again they solidified their defensive line with another Indianapolis product in Park Tudor stud Brandon Tiassum. After the success of Warren Central alum Sheldon Day, it’s expected for Tiassum to make an immediate impact. Top Safety and no.6 ranked player in the state, Warren Central’s Mykelti Williams rounds out a strong class for the Irish.
The Hoosiers made hay in the state on the defensive and offensive line. Signing INPrep50 defensive lineman in Jacob Robinson(no.15) and Joe Belden(no.18) immediately give the Hoosiers depth upfront. The most impressive signee upfront is INPrep50 offensive tackle in Noblesville’s Brandon Knight, the no.12 ranked player in the state. The reason the Hoosiers earned a B-, they were not able to keep the commitment of in-state Quarterback Tommy Stevens. However, the signing of INPrep50 no.7 ranked player in Isaac James eases the pain.James is a versatile player that can do many things for Coach Wilson’s staff. His combination of his athleticism and experience at the quarterback position makes James the most intriguing player signed in the Hoosiers 2015 class.
The prize recruit in Purdue’s 2015 class is undoubtedly INPrep50 ranked no.17 player in Columbus East running back Markell Jones. Jones is the state’s most decorated player. This past fall, Jones set the state’s single season rushing record and was one rushing touchdown shy of tying that record. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed as he was named to several All-American list and won the coveted Mr. Football for Indiana. Bishop Chatard has a reputation in producing outstanding offensive lineman and Matt McCann will keep the tradition going. The Boilermakers signed INPrep50 no.14 ranked player in McCann who is likely to compete for playing time immediately. West Lafayette product Payton Truitt(no.26/INPrep50) solidifies the offensive line group.
BALL STATE: B+
The Cards focused on their backyard in signing 9 Indiana Prep athletes. INPrep50 quarterback Riley Neal(no.16) and running back James Gilbert(no.20) headline this impressive group. Coach Lembo was able to keep quarterback Riley Neal in the fold after many speculated a B1G school would pluck him away. Many will argue that it was Gilbert who was Indiana’s top running back in the 2015 class. Solid pick ups in offensive lineman Zac Ricketts(Bremen), Grant Williamson(New Prairie) and Blake Yaeger(Carroll).
INDIANA STATE: C
The four players signed with the Sycamores all had productive careers at the high school level. Penn Tight End Inoke Moala is a good athlete and was recruited by larger schools. Lawrence Central wide receiver Gennaro Penn Jr has great size and speed that made him one of the top players in the state at his position. The biggest get for the Sycamores may be in Defensive End Adrian Butler of Evansville Mater Dei. He is a prototypical defensive end at 6’5 235 with quickness and strength to take on offensive lineman. He also doubles as a pretty good wrestler, where he brings that edge to the football field. Arsenal Tech offensive lineman Abdur’ Rasheed Abdul-Haqq rounds out the solid group.
INPrep50 no.29 ranked player Malik Higgins is a steal for the Hounds. Higgins possesses division one skills and flew under the radar. Bloomington South Quarterback Bryce Stancombe is also a very nice pick up.
Notable Signees: DL Erik Hart(Lebanon), DL Lucas Rice (Mt.Vernon), LB Kyle Treber (Penn)
St. Joseph: C
The average IndianaPreps fan may not recognize any of the names signed with the Pumas, but first year Head Coach Daniel Day was able to land a solid group of football players.
Notable Signees: ATH Darrion Noel(Bosse), DL Michael Ghant(North Vigo), LB Nick Santos(Noblesville), LB David Cory(Noblesville)
The Marian Knights finished the 2014 season in late December as National Champion runner ups. You’d assume the Knights would trail other programs in recruiting. Not so fast. The Knights had 33 players from Indiana sign/accept to play football at the fast growing Indianapolis University. Many All-State players, state champions and record setters are now Knights.
Notable Signees: OL Ezra Followell(Columbus North), LB CJ McCarter(Luers), RB Charles Salary(LaPorte), LB Logan McCann(Mater Dei), LB Noah Grable(New Palestine), LB Gabe Estes(New Palestine), DE Kemuel Denny(Pike)
St. Francis: C
Offensive Lineman lead the way for a impressive signing day for the Pumas. Austin Smogor(Center Grove), Connor Burgess(Carroll), Kamran Beitvashah(Bloomington South) are three lineman that will compete immediately in the Fall. Small, but elusive receiver Rashawn Bond help lead the Ben Davis Giants to a state championship and will try to be as productive for the Pumas. Bloomington North LB Devin Green is a solid football player who brings a bit of toughness with him. Warren Central sends 5 defensive backs to Rensselaer.
The One’s Who Got Away
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr
VIRGINIA TECH: B+
DB Adonis Williamson
DL Eric Whitehead
PENN STATE: B
QB Tommy Stevens