Indiana announces 25-player signing class

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(Here’s the press release from Indiana announcing the Hoosiers’ 2012 recruiting class.)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Wednesday the signing of 25 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hoosiers in 2012.

“We addressed our needs in a very positive manner.” Wilson said. “We were very aggressive in our sell and our approach with not only the player we were looking for, but also the individual and the student. Our staff did a tremendous job working to bring in this talented group of 25 young men.”

IU signed 13 defensive players, 11 offensive players and one athlete. The Hoosiers added six defensive linemen, four defensive backs and three linebackers on defense and four offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, two wide receivers, two tight ends and one running back on offense.

The class features players from 10 different states, including eight from Indiana, three from Illinois, three from Ohio, two from California, two from Florida, two from Georgia, two from Texas, one from Arizona, one from Mississippi and one from Missouri.

“We had a lot of great help along the way,” Wilson said. “Not only from our staff, but from our players, our administration, the academic community and other coaches, especially the basketball staff. Our recruits left campus with a positive vibe and we are pleased with the kids we got.”

Here is a list of Indiana’s 2012 signees:

Name    Pos.    Ht.    Wt.    Hometown/Previous School
Jacarri Alexander    LB    6-1    234    Winter Haven, Fla./Iowa Central C.C.
Jacob Bailey    OL    6-5    285    Carmel, Ind./Cathedral H.S.
Dimitric Camiel    OL    6-7    300    Houston, Texas/Westfield H.S.
Cameron Coffman    QB    6-2    191    Peculiar, Mo./Arizona Western C.C.
Tevin Coleman    RB    6-1    202    Tinley Park, Ill./Oak Forest H.S.
David Cooper    LB    6-1    230    Lilburn, Ga./Coffeyville (Kan.) C.C.
Caleb Cornett    WR    6-3    175    Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis H.S.
Kevin Davis    WR    5-11    175    Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central H.S.
Dan Feeney    OL    6-4    302    Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg H.S.
Dawson Fletcher    DB    6-0    190    West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West H.S.
Ralphael Green    DL    6-5    320    San Antonio, Texas/Sam Houston H.S.
Shawn Heffern    DL    6-6    245    Carmel, Ind./Carmel H.S.
Ricky Jones    ATH    5-10    170    Sarasota, Fla./Booker H.S.
Tanner Kearns    TE    6-5    225    Lexington, Ohio/Lexington H.S.
Adam Kranda    DL    6-6    240    New Castle, Ind./New Castle H.S.
Nick Mangieri    DL    6-5    240    Peoria, Ill./Dunlap H.S.
Antonio Marshall    DB    5-11    190    Pitts, Ga./Georgia Military College
Justin Rayside    DL    6-3    246    Corona, Calif./Riverside (Calif.) C.C.
Wes Rogers    OL    6-4    285    Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central H.S.
Jason Spriggs    TE    6-7    265    Elkhart, Ind./Concord H.S.
Nathan Sudfeld    QB    6-5    215    Modesto, Calif./Modesto Christian H.S.
Ryan Thompson    DB    5-10    186    Pontotoc, Miss./Itawamba (Miss.) C.C.
Alex Todd    DL    6-3    285    Streetsboro, Ohio/Streetsboro H.S.
Jordan Wallace    LB    6-0    230    Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central H.S.
Tregg Waters    DB    6-0    185    Phoenix, Ariz./Glendale (Ariz.) C.C.

Notes on Class:
* Jacarri Alexander, Cameron Coffman, David Cooper, Justin Rayside, Ryan Thompson and Tregg Waters are currently enrolled in classes for the spring semester and will participate in spring practice.
* Nathan Sudfeld took a mission trip to Uganda as a 14-year old. His brothers, twins Matthew and Zach, played college football. Matthew was a wide receiver at Brown University (2007-11) and Zach was a tight end at the University of Nevada (2007-11).
* Kevin Davis and Jordan Wallace are brothers.
* Shawn Heffern was recruited by defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen, who also attended Carmel High School
* Nick Mangieri’s brother, P.J., is a senior long snapper at the University of Nebraska. His uncles, Ed and Dan Sutter, both played linebacker at Northwestern University. Ed also played five seasons in the NFL (Cleveland, Baltimore and Atlanta).
* Cameron Coffman’s father, Paul, was a standout tight end at Kansas State University as well as the Green Bay Packers (1978-85) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1986-87). He was a teammate of IU safety Mark Murphy’s father, Mark, with the Packers. Cameron’s brother, Chase, played tight end at the University of Missouri (2005-08) and the Cincinnati Bengals (2009-10). His brother, Carson, played quarterback at Kansas State University (2007-10).
* Jacob Bailey was a high school teammate of IU wide receiver Kofi Hughes, safety Jake Zupancic and linebacker Kyle Kennedy. Wes Rogers was a high school teammate of IU quarterback Tre Roberson. Tanner Kearns was a high school teammate of IU safety Shaquille Jefferson.
* Caleb Cornett is the first Ben Davis product to sign with the Hoosiers since current Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss (2008-10).
* Alex Todd was the first commitment to the 2012 signing class and Tanner Kearns was the first to turn in his NLI this morning.

ESPN analyst: Jimbo Fisher called Texas A&M soft, vowed to change the program

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If there was one thing that really seemed to put Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat during his time at Texas A&M, it was the Aggies seemingly annual collapse in the second half of the season and inability to finish games they had the potential to win. That explains some of the reason why the school ponied up to lure Jimbo Fisher from Florida State in a $75 million hire late last year.

While most of the outside focus on Fisher’s move to College Station has been centered on that humongous contract, there’s little question that hiring a national title-winning coach was a coup for the team. That subject was brought up again on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show Friday evening and ESPN college football analyst Booger McFarland relayed a rather interesting conversation he had with the coach earlier this year in which Fisher said something you typically don’t hear made public. You can head to the 8:18 mark (or there abouts) for the interview.

“I talked to Jimbo in Atlanta. I told Jimbo point-blank — the same thing I told you guys about Texas A&M the last several years — A&M is a soft program,” McFarland said. “Jimbo looked me in the eye and was like, ‘You know what, you’re damn right. We are soft, but I’m going to change that.’”

Something says that Fisher and the Aggies strength coaches are going to use the comments as a bit of a challenge in the weight room and during spring practice over the coming months as they lay the groundwork for the 2018 season. Even the most ardent maroon and white supporters would probably agree with the sentiment that the team went a little soft toward the end of Sumlin’s tenure but it’s not everyday you see a coach call out his new program quite like that.

Maybe it’s something in the water down there in College Station though, judging by some other comments by the school’s athletic director, but one thing is for certain — things are going to be very different at Texas A&M going forward.

Scott Frost wants Nebraska football roster to grow to 150 players or more in 2018

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In the days before you were limited to 85 scholarship players, it was not totally uncommon to see teams stock their rosters full of players and wind up in the triple-digits with close to 200 players on a team. Even after the NCAA mandated a limit of 85 scholarships, roster sizes were still not that much smaller when you factored in walk-ons and others on a squad.

It appears Scott Frost wants to get back to those sort of days in Lincoln and is apparently pushing the school to help him expand the Cornhuskers roster right into the 150 range.

“I’d like to accommodate (Frost’s) desire” to expand the roster, athletic director Bill Moos said this week in an interview with Rivals’ HuskerOnline. “But we do have that issue with Title IX” along with locker room facilities challenges, organized practice schedules, and other daily management nuts and bolts to sort through.

“Nebraska has been known for having a lot of players on the team…a lot of walk-ons. I’d like to get back to that,” Frost had said on Signing Day earlier in the month. “The best thing Coach (Tom) Osborne did was have everybody practice… and part of that is what led to the development of players and helped walk-ons and young players get better faster and get on the field and help the team. I think that’s an asset that Nebraska can have if we’re willing to expand the roster.”

HuskerOnline details some of the compliance and budgetary challenges that going to 150 would entail but it certainly sounds like the school is making the effort to beef the numbers up. The Cornhuskers are well known in college football history for their walk-on program and roughly 10-15 walk-ons per class would apparently help them land right around Frost’s ideal roster size after factoring in the 85 full-scholarship players he would recruit.

Interestingly, going to 150 would allow the program to pass Michigan for the Big Ten’s biggest roster. The Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh are reportedly sitting at around 135 players after the 2017 season while most of the other conference’s schools are mostly around the 120 mark with a few exceptions. Title IX is not surprisingly the biggest obstacle for teams but it seems like some can manage things with no issue.

Frost was hired this offseason to help take Nebraska back to their perch atop college football and it seems like he is certainly attempting to do that in more ways than one when it comes to Big Red.

Purdue hires Utah State’s Mark Tommerdahl as special teams and tight ends coach

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Jeff Brohm is bringing in longtime coaching veteran Mark Tommerdahl to fill out his staff and serve as Purdue’s special teams and tight ends coach.

The Boilermakers announced the move on Saturday afternoon as Tommerdahl heads to West Lafayette after spending just a season at Utah State where he also coached running backs and ran the Aggies’ special teams. While his stay in Logan was brief, Tommerdahl has been all over the country in 34 years as a coach and is highly regarded for his work in the kicking game.

Tommerdahl has plenty of prior Power Five coaching experience and spent four seasons with Sonny Dykes at Cal where he coached three different position groups and served as assistant head coach. Prior to that he also had stops at Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU and several other schools.

The move to bring in Tommerdahl fills the spot on the Boilermakers’ staff that was left when former Houston coach Tony Levine left after one season with the school to pursue opportunities outside of the coaching profession. Brohm’s 10th assistant Kevin Wolthausen was also given special teams responsibilities when he was elevated to a full-time role so it’s possible the team is really beefing up their emphasis on the third phases of the game with the two new coaches splitting duties when it comes to special teams.

Either way, after a surprising 2017 season that ended with a bowl game victory it’s pretty clear that Brohm is not just sitting back when it comes to his coaching staff and is bringing in some veteran names to help the team take the next step in 2018.

Iowa State OC Tom Manning reportedly leaving Ames for Indianapolis Colts staff

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After one of the most successful seasons in recent memory at Iowa State, it appears head coach Matt Campbell will not be able to keep the band together for another run.

Campbell confirmed to The Des Moines Register on Saturday morning that offensive coordinator Tom Manning was leaving Ames and will be taking a job in the NFL. The paper later was able to confirm that the team in question will be the Indianapolis Colts for a spot on Frank Reich’s new staff. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg says Manning will be the team’s tight ends coach.

“I’m really happy and proud of him,” Campbell told the Register.

Manning has been with Campbell for years and the two actually played (and coached) together at famed D-III power Mount Union in the early 2000’s. Both were on the same staff at Toledo and Manning served as offensive line coach both there and at Iowa State. As offensive coordinator in 2017 he guided the Cyclones to a bit of an offensive renaissance despite relying on backup quarterback Kyle Kempt for most of the season, helping the team produce the third most points per game in school history while ranking in the top five in both total yards and passing.

ISU memorably upset Oklahoma in Norman and capped off an eight-win campaign in the Liberty Bowl with a victory over a ranked Memphis team.

The move leaves two openings on Campbell’s staff for 2018 but the Register notes that graduate assistant Jeff Myers is a possibility for the offensive line job and special teams analyst Joe Houston could be the team’s potential 10th assistant coach.