Indiana Daily Student

IU football announces 23 signees on National Signing Day

<p>Sophomore running back Devonte Williams celebrates a touchdown with teammates on Sept. 23 against Georgia Southern at Memorial Stadium. The IU football program completed its latest recruiting class today as part of National Signing Day.</p>

Sophomore running back Devonte Williams celebrates a touchdown with teammates on Sept. 23 against Georgia Southern at Memorial Stadium. The IU football program completed its latest recruiting class today as part of National Signing Day.

The IU football program received National Letters of Intent from 23 high school football players from around the country Wednesday.

All 21 players who were prior commits to IU before National Signing Day followed through Wednesday by signing with the Hoosiers. In addition to those 21 players, IU also received National Letters of Intent from quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and defensive back Noah Pierre, both from the state of Florida. 

The 23 players were announced as 2018 football signees throughout the day by the IU Department of Athletics, and information on each of the 23 new Hoosiers can be found below.

Aaron Casey, linebacker

Alexander High School – Douglasville, GA

6'2"/215 lbs

Casey is listed as an outside linebacker but seems tailor-made for the husky position usually held down by sophomore Marcelino Ball, who is similar to Casey in size and stature. Casey picked up 120 tackles and five interceptions as a senior with Alexander High School this season, according to 247Sports. Casey – who held offers from schools like West Virginia, Central Florida and Rutgers – is a consensus three-star recruit and 247Sports' composite ranking has him slotted as the 998th overall national prospect in the 2018 class.

Elijah Rodgers, defensive back

Blacksburg High School – Blacksburg, SC

6'1"/175 lbs

Rodgers played both defensive back and quarterback at Blacksburg High School, where he was twice named an all-state selection. He scored a combined 19 passing and rushing touchdowns in 2017 and played in the 2017 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He's ranked the No. 21 prospect in the state of South Carolina by Rivals and is rated a three-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports.

Devon Matthews, defensive back

Ribault High School – Jacksonville, FL

6'2"/203 lbs

Matthews goes by the nickname "Monster" and is ranked the No. 74 cornerback nationally by ESPN. He posted good numbers with 60 tackles, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and seven pass breakups as a senior. Like Rodgers, Matthews joins IU at a time when the Hoosiers need bodies at the cornerback position to make up for the loss of players like Rashard Fant and other members of the IU secondary.  

Miles Marshall, wide receiver

Parkview High School – Lilburn, GA

6'4"/210 lbs

Marshall was twice an all-region and all-county selection at Parkview High School, where he set five school receiving records, including the single-season mark for receiving yards with 1,118 and receiving touchdowns with 15. Another three-star prospect across the board, Marshall may be one of many receivers jockeying to replace the production of Simmie Cobbs Jr. should Cobbs leave IU for the NFL. 

Micah McFadden, linebacker

Plant High School – Tampa, FL

6'2"/225 lbs

McFadden is the latest IU football signee to come from Plant High School, joining four players on the current IU roster. His 211 tackles at Plant during his senior season are a program record, and came after McFadden was a first-team all-state and all-county selection during his junior season. With IU's linebacking corps thinned once Chris Covington and Tegray Scales depart, McFadden could be one of a number of young players receiving playing time at that position.

Ronnie Walker Jr., running back

Hopewell High School – Hopewell, VA

5'11"/198 lbs

Walker is the only 2018 IU football signee thus far to be rated a four-star prospect by ESPN. A two-time all-state and all-region pick, Walker helped lead Hopewell High School to a 2017 state title in Virginia. He rushed for 1,344 yards and scored 19 touchdowns on the ground. Walker is the No. 21 running back nationally as rated by 247Sports and will enroll in 2018 spring classes and participate in spring practice with IU. He could see action right away in an IU rushing attack that struggled for parts of last season.

Stevie Scott, athlete

Christian Brothers Academy – Syracuse, NY

6'2"/235 lbs

Scott served as a running back and linebacker in high school, where he was a 2016 all-state selection in New York. Injuries hampered his senior season, but Scott combined to rush for 2,500 yards and 42 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons. He's rated the No. 12 prospect in New York by Rivals and could play a variety of offensive positions for IU given his size. 

Reese Taylor, athlete

Ben Davis High School – Indianapolis, IN

5'11"/175 lbs

Taylor starred at quarterback for Ben Davis in recent years, posting program-best numbers for the high school that Tom Allen served as head coach of from 2004-2006. Taylor is the 2017 Indiana Mr. Football and led Ben Davis to a perfect 14-0 season and a state title this season. He completed 72.6-percent of his passes for more than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in his senior campaign, while also posing a threat with his legs. Taylor was the No. 5 ranked prospect in Indiana by ESPN, and with the departure of Richard Lagow from the quarterback position, it remains to be seen if IU will use Taylor in his familiar role behind center.

Madison Norris, defensive end 

Hamilton Southeastern High School – Fishers, IN

6'4"/200 lbs

Norris, an in-state product, is one of four defensive linemen in IU's 2018 class. The Hoosiers will lose three of four starters from their 2017 defensive line, so Norris and others may be relied upon quickly for contributions. The three-star recruit also had offers from Tennessee, Purdue and Louisville. He is ranked as the 10th-best class of 2018 prospect in the state of Indiana by 247Sports' composite ratings.

Nick Marozas, offensive line

Brother Rice High School – Chicago, IL

6'5"/271 lbs

Marozas was a four-year starter on the offensive line at Brother Rice, and was named a team captain for three of those years. He was ranked the No. 80 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 15 prospect in Illinois by ESPN. IU's offensive line will be a strength for the Hoosiers entering next season, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see Marozas take a redshirt year.

Charles Campbell, kicker

University School of Jackson – Jackson, TN

5'9"/180 lbs

Campbell was a three-time district kicker of the year and a two-time all-state selection in high school. He's been named a U.S. Army All-American and has been invited to the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The No. 5 ranked kicker nationally by Rivals, Campbell is an option to replace graduating senior kicker Griffin Oakes straight away for the Hoosiers.

T.J. Ivy, tight end

Marist High School – Chicago, IL

6'5"/227 lbs

Ivy is an all-state and all-conference tight end out of Chicago, Illinois. He caught a combined 57 passes for nearly 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns during his final two high school seasons. The No. 25 prospect in Illinois as rated by Rivals, Ivy is certainly big enough to slide into a rotational role for IU at tight end, a position that needs playmakers with the departure of Ian Thomas. 

Jordan Jusevitch, defensive back

Lowell High School – Lowell, IN

6'1"/190 lbs

Jusevitch was one of three finalists for the 2017 Indiana Mr. Football award, which ultimately went to fellow IU signee Reese Taylor. Jusevitch was a four-time first-team all-conference honoree and has the most tackles (416) and interceptions (18) of any player in the history of Lowell High School. He finished his high school career with three straight seasons of 100 or more tackles and was also a two-year basketball letter winner.

Gavin McCabe, defensive line

Marist High School – Oak Lawn, IL

6'4"/255 lbs

McCabe ended his high school career with 136 tackles and 14 sacks. A three-star prospect across the board, McCabe selected IU while also fielding offers from Iowa State and Arkansas. He was a part of two conference championships with Marist High School, as well as a state runner-up finish in 2015.

Jacolby Hewitt, wide receiver

Cordova High School – Cordova, TN

6'1"/210 lbs

Hewitt, just like running back Ronnie Walker Jr., will enroll at IU in spring 2018 and participate in spring practices. A 2017 all-state selection, he posted more than 1,000 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns as a senior. Perhaps the most interesting note about Hewitt is his ability in the kick return game, as he posted 285 kick return yards during his senior campaign. Hewitt joins a stable of young IU receivers, but his ability returning kicks could set him apart. 

Matt Bjorson, tight end

Hinsdale Central High School – Hinsdale, IL

6'3"/225 lbs

Bjorson joins T.J. Ivy as tight ends joining the IU program on National Signing Day. Bjorson was a 2017 all-state selection and finished his time at Hinsdale Central with more than 50 catches for 822 yards and 12 touchdowns. His father, Kris, was a four-year starter at tight end at Cincinnati from 1989-1992. Like Ivy, Bjorson could see time next season as the Hoosiers try and replace Ian Thomas at tight end.

Aidan Rafferty, offensive line

Gonzaga College High School – Kensington, MD

6'6"/271 lbs

Rafferty was a two-time all-conference selection at Gonzaga and was rated the No. 3 prospect in Washington D.C. by Rivals. He was recognized by the Washington Post with all-met honors as a senior. Rafferty will bring size to an IU offensive line that already has a number of returners, leaving him the chance to earn playing time because of his physical presence. 

Jaylin Williams, cornerback

Germantown High School – Memphis, TN

6'0"/180 lbs

Williams was recruited as an athlete out of Germantown High School but will likely be used as a cornerback by IU to help bolster the Hoosiers' secondary. ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports all had Williams listed as a three-star prospect. 247Sports has Williams as the No. 71 cornerback nationally, and IU was able to beat out Ole Miss for his recruitment. 

James Head Jr., defensive line

Miami Southridge Senior High School – Miami, FL

6'5"/232 lbs

Head was offered by several big-name schools, including Mississippi State, South Carolina and Michigan State, but committed to IU over the summer. A strong-side defensive end, Head was the No. 105 rated recruit from the state of Florida according to 247Sports, and posted 250 tackles and 45 sacks in his high school career. Head joins an IU pass rush that has seen improvement in recent years with a four-man front. Head will enroll at IU in the spring and take part in spring practices. 

Shamar Jones, defensive line

Greater Johnstown High School – Johnstown, PA

6'1"/271 lbs

Jones, like the vast majority of players in this 2018 class, is a three-star prospect across recruiting websites. He received an offer from one other "Power Five" school, Wake Forest. Jones posted 244 total tackles during the past three seasons along with 34.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. 247Sports has Jones as the No. 47 rated recruit in the state of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the United States Under-19 National Team and played in the 2017 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Jones' uncles, Artrell and Andrew, both played in the NFL.

Noah Pierre, defensive back  

Champagnat Catholic School  Hialeah, FL

5'11"/185 lbs

Pierre was previously uncommitted before signing with IU on Wednesday, becoming the 22nd commit for IU's 2018 recruiting class. The cornerback from Florida had offers from schools like Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic and Miami (Ohio). Pierre had a team-high four interceptions and made 45 tackles with Champagnat Catholic as a senior this season while also forcing two fumbles and returning a punt for a touchdown. IU only offered Pierre on Dec. 11, but the cornerback signed his National Letter of Intent for the Hoosiers just nine days later. 

Cam Jones, linebacker

St. Benedict at Auburndale High School  –  Memphis, TN 

6'3"/215 lbs

Jones is a three-star athlete who played on both sides of the ball in high school and returned punts, but he will slot in as a linebacker for IU. Jones originally committed to the Hoosiers in April of this year, but reopened his commitment a month later. In late-October, Jones recommitted to IU over offers from schools like Tennessee, Memphis, Mississippi State and Missouri. He is ranked as the No. 34 recruit in the state of Tennessee by 247Sports' composite rankings. Jones was a two-time all-state and three-time all-region selection in high school.

Michael Penix Jr., quarterback

Tampa Bay Technical High School  –  Tampa, FL 

6'3"/205 lbs

Penix, a three-star prospect from Tampa Bay Tech in Tampa, Florida, was originally committed to Tennessee. With the recent coaching change, however, the staff at Tennessee decided to rescind its scholarship offer to Penix, and he reopened his commitment last week. 

IU Coach Tom Allen went down to Florida with several other Hoosier coaches for an in-home visit with Penix last week after Penix took an official visit to IU several days prior. He was also recruited heavily by the coaching staffs from Florida State and South Florida in recent days, but the left-handed quarterback ultimately chose the Hoosiers.

As the 20th-best pro style quarterback in the class according to 247Sports' composite rankings, Penix will provide instant depth and could contend for playing time among IU's quarterbacks. According to 247Sports, Penix threw for 2,165 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior this year. He had just five interceptions and also ran for 449 yards and two touchdowns.

Penix will enroll in the spring 2018 semester at IU and take part in spring practices. 

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