Lynch introduces 2010 recruiting class
By Nathan Hart
While national scouting services rank IU’s 2010 signing class at the bottom of the Big Ten, Hoosier coach Bill Lynch welcomed the 25-member class on National Signing Day on Wednesday saying he felt very comfortable with his new recruits.
More than 200 IU students, alumni and fans packed the Henke Hall of Champions at Memorial Stadium for a reception as Lynch discussed the incoming signing class.
“We knew they were talented,” Lynch said. “But the more you get to know them, the more comfortable you are with their character, their families, their commitment, knowing that they really want to come to Indiana University. That’s something I’m really excited about.”
Lynch continues to emphasize the development of a team that has had 14 losing seasons in the past 15 years.
The fact a large crowd attended the reception to hear the head coach discuss the signees added to Lynch’s excitement.
“This is unbelievable,” Lynch told the crowd. “This used to be at the bottom of the steps (at the stadium) ... and we’d have a quarter of the people we have here. I don’t think we had any ideas of the numbers we’d have here.”
This interest comes despite a weak recruiting class compared to other Big Ten schools. IU’s 2010 class was ranked last according to scouting service Rivals.com, while Scout.com placed IU’s class ninth in the conference.
The Hoosiers were one of three Big Ten schools to not land at least one four-star recruit, according to Rivals. Only two schools – Penn State and Ohio State – had fewer three-star recruits. However, those teams combined to sign 20 four-star players.
Lynch was not deterred by the rankings.
“I think we did the best (in the Big Ten) because we got the guys we wanted,” Lynch said.
Key members of IU’s class include junior college players Andre Kates, Lenyatta Kiles and Jeff Thomas. Kates and Kiles, both cornerbacks, and Thomas, a linebacker, will likely see immediate playing time.
“You don’t bring junior college guys in to sit,” defensive coordinator Joe Palcic said.
Along with Kiles, Kates and Thomas, other prominent signees include running back Matt Perez and quarterback Kofi Hughes. Perez, the Chicago Tribune and ESPNChicago.com Illinois Player of the Year, led Maine South High School to two consecutive undefeated seasons and Illinois state titles.
Hughes, the Gatorade Indiana Football Player of the Year in 2009 from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, was one of four Indiana high school players to sign with IU.
Hughes’ decision based partly on the new football facilities and a personable coaching staff fit the mold of how IU tries to sell its program.
“I wanted to go somewhere where the coaches were as interested in me as I was in them,” Hughes said, adding that Lynch’s staff provided just that.
For Lynch, he said the day was significant for a staff that spent the last few years recruiting these 25 athletes.
“It’s a big day for us,” Lynch said. “It’s a culmination of a lot of work.”
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