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Hoosiers flip UCF receiver commit Phil Benker #iufb

Indiana flipped UCF commit Phil Benker on Monday, making the Florida receiver the seventh member of a rapidly growing 2016 recruiting class.

Benker, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver, tweeted on Monday evening that he was switching his verbal pledge to Indiana. The Jacksonville, Fla. native was on campus for a visit last weekend.

“After long hard thoughts and discussions with my family I have decided to flip my commitment to Indiana University,” Benker wrote. “I would like to thank the UCF staff for allowing me to be (a part) of their family but we had to make a business decision! Excited for the future! #GoIU”

Benker is Indiana’s fourth commit in three days and the first receiver in its 2016 class. 247 Sports rates Benker as a three-star prospect, while Rivals gives him two stars. Benker was UCF’s first commitment of the 2016 class when he verballed in late March, choosing the Knights over offers from Wake Forest, Duke, Colorado, Troy and Alabama State.

Benker hauled in 59 passes for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior last season at Sandalwood High. His high school quarterback, Eli Peters, is an Illinois commit in the same class.

Benker’s commitment came only hours after three-star cornerback A’Shon Riggins announced his commitment to the Hoosiers. Those two followed three-star Georgia defensive lineman Allen Cater on Sunday and three-star safety Khalil Bryant on Saturday. They’re joined in the 2016 class by Alabama running back Tyus Flakes and Cincinnati prospects Peyton Ramsey, a quarterback, and defensive lineman Ryan Smith.

IU, Illinois and Purdue each have seven commitments for 2016, a three-way tie for the fewest in the conference. The other 11 Big Ten programs have at least 10 commitments, led by Michigan State’s 19.

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Family atmosphere a selling point for defensive recruit Allen Cater #iufb

All of the recruiting research done by Georgia defensive lineman Allen Cater gave him a good feeling that Indiana was the right fit.

He studied to find where Indiana is ranked in different majors, he liked what he found from the Kelley School of Business and felt comfortable with what he saw within IU’s football program. He liked the players he met and appreciated the close-knit locker room, too.

But it wasn’t until Cater and his family left home last weekend for a visit to Bloomington when he knew for sure that Indiana was the place for him.

“Going on that visit was pretty much my deciding point of how I felt being away from home,” Cater said. “It really did feel like a family.”

With that, Cater gave IU coach Kevin Wilson his verbal commitment for the Hoosiers’ 2016 class on Sunday afternoon. Cater, considered a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, expects to play defensive end at the next level.

The athletic 6-foot-5, 240-pound lineman is coming off a standout season at Mount Paran High in Kennesaw, Ga., and the Atlanta Journal Constitution tabbed him as the best defensive end at the local Elite Junior Classic all-star game in December. Rivals lists offers from Appalachian State, Cincinnati, UConn, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, among others.

But Cater said Indiana was at the top of the list, and his weekend visit sealed his plans. He hung out with redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Derrian Meminger and Mike Barwick and enjoyed a recruiting cookout at the facility on Saturday. There, he sat with current players while his parents got to know the coaching staff.

“They got a feel for (the family atmosphere) on their own,” Cater said.

Both defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and defensive line coach Larry McDaniel were both visible during his recruitment. While doing his research, Cater said he wanted to understand what it means to be a Hoosier.

Now that he’s been to campus, met the players and the staff, he has a good idea.

“Being a Hoosier means you gotta work,” Cater said. “You gotta be academically strong and you gotta be able to put in the work in the classroom. Then, after that, take that grind out of the classroom and into the athletic realm.”

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Hoosiers land coveted 3-star corner A’Shon Riggins #iufb

Long conversations with Indiana linebacker Marcus Oliver allowed Ohio cornerback prospect A’Shon Riggins to get a good feel for IU’s football program.

Oliver, himself a product of Riggins’ Hamilton High School just outside of Cincinnati, told the young defensive back about the coaching staff, the Hoosiers locker room and all the things an incoming recruit could expect in Bloomington. Those conversations also provided Riggins with, perhaps, the most important piece of information about IU coach Kevin Wilson.

To Wilson, Riggins is a top priority in Indiana’s 2016 recruiting class.

Riggins answered IU’s interest with a verbal commitment on Monday, choosing the Hoosiers over offers from Iowa, Illinois and West Virginia, among others.

“Hearing from Marcus and everything, I was always one of their top guys,” Riggins told The Herald-Times. “That was big for me to know that they really want me and need me. Just knowing that I was one of their top priorities was a great feeling.”

The 6-foot, 160-pound corner is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports. He was selected to last year’s All-Greater Miami Conference First Team as a junior after making three interceptions, which tied him for third in the league.

Riggins has made four visits to Bloomington, including this past weekend when he brought his family for the first time. With their blessing, he committed not long after leaving.

“It’s only two and a half hours away, so my family can come to my games without having to pay for a hotel,” Riggins said. “They can still come back that day. It’s just convenient for my family. I think I’ll fit perfectly in the program. It’s a good feeling.” (more…)

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Pair of defensive recruits choose Indiana #iufb

Indiana’s 2016 recruiting class grew by two on Sunday after the Hoosiers officially added commitments from safety Khalil Bryant and defensive lineman Allen Cater.

Bryant announced his commitment for Indiana on Saturday, and Cater announced his on Sunday afternoon. Neither were confirmed until IU coach Kevin Wilson tweeted his usual “#boom” on Sunday evening.

Both Rivals and 247 Sports view Bryant as a three-star prospect. Bryant chose the Hoosiers over offers from North Carolina, Wake Forest, Army and Western Kentucky, among others.

Listed around 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Bryant first received his Indiana offer in March and told Scout.com later that month that IU was already among his early favorites. Scout describes Bryant having good change of direction and closing speed, along with good tackling instincts in the open field. Bryant will be a senior this fall at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Bryant is the latest player being brought to Bloomington to help fix Indiana’s suspect secondary. After Antonio Allen was dismissed from the team on Wednesday following his arrest on multiple drug charges, the Hoosiers will look young in the defensive backfield over the next couple seasons.

Sophomores Tony Fields and Kiante Walton will likely compete for the starting free safety job vacated by Allen’s departure, while Chase Dutra is the likely starter at the other safety spot. 2015 signees Jonathan Crawford and Jameel Cook will also compete for depth chart roles at safety during their first summer on campus.

Cater, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end, boosted his stock after his junior season at Mount Paran High in Kennesaw, Ga.

The Atlanta Journal Constituion named Cater the best defensive end at the local Elite Junior Classic all-star game. A scout told the AJC that Cater had, “the most potential out of anybody in the all-star game.”

Rivals, which lists defensive line coach Larry McDaniel and defensive coordinator Brian Knorr as his maon recruiters, rates Cater as a two-star prospect. 247 Sports slots him at three stars. According to Rivals, Cater chose IU over offers from Appalachian State, Cincinnati, UConn, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, among others. Rivals also shows interest from Clemson, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.

Both players are joined in the 2016 class by Alabama running back Tyus Flakes and Cincinnati prospects Peyton Ramsey, a quarterback, and defensive lineman Ryan Smith.

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Shane Wynn claimed by Browns #iufb

Former Indiana receiver Shane Wynn is going home.

One day after Wynn was waived by the Atlanta Falcons, the Browns announced Friday that they were awarded the Cleveland native on a waiver claim.

“God is good,” Wynn tweeted.

Wynn, who signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent, is expected to compete for a job as a return man and slot receiver. The Glenville High product left Indiana tied for second in receptions (189), third in kick return yardage (1,854) and tied for third in receiving touchdowns (20). Wynn is the only Hoosier in program history with a receiving, rushing (three), kick return (one) and punt return touchdown in his career.

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Allen makes initial appearance, Wilson talks on radio #iufb

A phalanx of supporters huddled around former Indiana University football player Antonio Allen on Friday afternoon, shielding him from cameras and prying eyes as he walked out of his initial appearance in Monroe Circuit Court.

Allen appeared in court to face a revised set of charges from the prosecutor’s office related to his alleged drug deals with an Indiana State Police informant. Those charges include dealing a narcotic drug between five and 10 grams, dealing methamphetamine between one and five grams, and dealing methamphetamine between five and 10 grams.

Filed separately are charges of dealing cocaine of 10 or more grams, dealing a narcotic drug of 10 or more grams — both Level 2 felonies, which carry a penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison if convicted — and maintaining a common nuisance.

Allen wore a white collared shirt and a striped tie, dark jeans and white tennis shoes to the hearing, declining to speak with reporters outside the courtroom. During the hearing, Allen only spoke to acknowledge the charges. Afterward, he was quickly whisked away by a group of approximately 15-20 supporters and led into a cream-colored SUV with tinted windows.

Allen’s next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13 at 2 p.m.

A probable cause affidavit related to Allen’s case details two recorded drug transactions Allen made with an informant. According to the affidavit, Allen can be seen on video counting money, weighing heroin and methamphetamine on a scale and handing the drugs to the informant. A search of a residence in the 400 block of East 19th Street turned up cocaine, a handgun and $920 cash matching serial numbers used in the two controlled buys with the informant, according to the affidavit.

Earlier Friday, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson appeared on SiriusXM radio to make his first public comments since Allen’s arrest Tuesday. Host Jack Arute did not ask Wilson directly about Allen’s arrest, asking instead how Indiana will replace the production of Allen — IU’s leading tackler in 2014. (more…)

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Report: Thon Maker to stay in 2016 class #iubb

Forget about Thon Maker fitting into Indiana’s plans for next season.

Maker will not reclassify into the 2015 class, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Brozello, choosing to return to Ontario’s Orangeville Prep for his final year of high school. Maker had been considering enrolling at an American university midway through the 2015-16 season.

Borzello writes that part of Maker’s decision centers on the ability to play his brother, Matur, a highly-regarded member of the 2017 class. Matur also has an Indiana offer.

Indiana and Arizona State are reportedly the two schools making the most consistent contact with Maker’s camp.

“It’s helped him tremendously,” Maker’s guardian Ed Smith told ESPN. “Going into the Hoop Summit (in April), he was staying up until two, three o’clock in the morning. He wasn’t playing well. Once he knew (moving back to 2016) was a possibility, he got back into a rhythm. He’s feeling good. He’s playing really, really well right now.”

Indiana has one scholarship available for the upcoming season.

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