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Indiana adds safety Sebastian Smith to 2012 class

Sebastian Smith, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound safety from Pickerington Central High School in Ohio, has committed to Indiana according to several reports, including this one from 24/7 Sports.

Smith is a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com. Indiana was reportedly his only scholarship offer, but he had also drawn interest from Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Coaches that were looking at Sebastian Smith had to look hard to understand his full value, Pickerington Central coach Jay Sharrett said, because as a junior he was often playing somewhat out of position.

The Tigers have been a safety factory in recent years, sending five to Division I schools in the past eight years. Last year’s starting free safety, Eliar Hardy, went to Notre Dame.

That left Smith somewhat overshadowed and forced him to bounce around the field. He saw sometime at strong safety, sometime at outside linebacker, and sometime at cornerback, while also playing on every one of the special teams.

But those who put the time in, including the Indiana staff, saw an athlete who was obviously BCS level.

“They’re getting a kid whose 6-3 with a lot of ball skills and great tackling skills,” Sharrett said. “He’s a hard-nosed football player.”

With Hardy gone, Smith will start at free safety this year, allowing the Tigers to take more advantage of his speed and strength. Sharrett said he runs a sub 4.5 40-yard dash (he was timed at 4.41 seconds with a hand-held stopwatch, Sharrett said) and bench presses 315 pounds.

Sharrett was discussing Smith while standing on his deck and waiting to go swimming after practice Tuesday, but said there was one stat he knew for sure.

“I’ll tell you one thing he didn’t have,” Sharrett said. “A missed tackle. The kid does not miss tackles. … You’re talking about a kid that can flat out run. He can go hash mark to hash mark or sideline to sideline. And he’s a great open field tackler.”


Report: Mitch McGary trims list

Several recruiting websites including ESPN and Scout.com are reporting that Brewster Academy center Mitch McGary has narrowed his list of schools, and it does not include Indiana.

He is reportedly down to Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan and North Carolina. More information is available in this report on Scout.com, which is for subscribers only.

Indiana had a back-and-forth recruitment of McGary. They were on his trail last year, hoping that he would be able to graduate for the 2011 class. He decided to reclassify, and IU’s interest appeared to wane. McGary said in May that he hadn’t spoken to IU in months, but the Hoosiers showed more interest in July on the recruiting trail. The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder and Indiana native is rated No. 5 in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com.

With McGary out, Hamilton Southeastern guard Gary Harris appears to be the Hoosiers’ one remaining major target for the Class of 2012. Harris has already declared that he will take an official visit to Indiana as well as Purdue and Michigan State.


Quarterback job wide open, running backs healthy, and more from IU Media Day

Kevin Wilson stuck to his talking points when it came to the quarterback job on Tuesday at Indiana Football Media Day, continuing to say that it is not a two-man competition between redshirt sophomore Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker but a five-man race that also includes junior Adam Follett, senior Teddy Schell and true freshman Tre Roberson.

Wilson made a point specifically to say that Roberson will get a chance, and that he’s been impressed with what the reigning Mr. Football at Indiana has done so far.

“He’s got a nice little presence,” Wilson said. “He communicates well, and he can do some things, so there’s five guys.”

Wilson has said in the past that the way the Hoosiers run practice allows all of the quarterbacks to get a lot of reps. In any sort of scrimmage situation, he said there are always at least two huddles going on at once, so all five are getting a good bit of work.

However, Wilson said that within about a week, the Hoosiers will probably pare down the competition. (more…)


Football Hoosiers upbeat, but Ralston Evans out

Indiana football conducted its media day festivities Tuesday morning, following Monday’s opening of fall practice, and the talk was of “a different swagger” (Max Dedmond) and “a quiet storm about us … it keeps building” (Jeff Thomas).

One negative bit of news was that true freshman guard Ralston Evans is out for the season after tearing an anterior cruciate knee ligament during summer workouts. Evans, who graduated early from Indianapolis Arlington last December and shined in spring drills at IU, working with the top two offensive units, was definitely in the playing picture for this season before the injury. Coach Kevin Wilson said surgery has been scheduled and that Evans, who had posted a 3.0 GPA in his first semester, remains upbeat.

There were no other reported injury issues and Indiana hasn’t had as much overall attrition as some programs experience during a coaching transition. But Wilson confirmed the departures of seven players from the program since last fall, some of which were previously announced, for reasons varying from career-ending injuries to graduation to a mutual parting of ways after new team requirements weren’t met. Offensive linemen Colin Rodkey and Bloomington’s Aaron Price saw injuries conclude their careers. Others who have departed include Nick Zachary, Harrison Scott, Andre Kates, Pat McShane and Chris Hagerup. Price, at guard, and Hagerup, the punter, were starters last season.

Much more on media day from Dustin Dopirak and myself upcoming, here on the Scoop and on HTO.


Report: Indiana in contact with Willis

Peegs.com is reporting that Indiana has already been in contact with Derek Willis now that the 6-foot-9 forward has de-committed from Purdue. Louisville and Kentucky have also apparently been in contact.

However, Willis’ father said he will take his time with the process and take his official visits before making a decision.


Big Ten/ACC Challenge Times set

The Big Ten released the times and television slots for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Indiana will be playing at North Carolina State at 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 30 on ESPN2. The rest of the release follows.

Networks and Times for 13th Annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Announced

ESPN has finalized the network and time assignments for the 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods to be played Nov. 29-30. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to televise all 12 games of the two-day event, one more than in the previous 12 Challenges because of the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference.

This year’s event will be highlighted by four traditional power programs expected to be highly ranked entering the 2011-12 season: Duke at Ohio State (Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN3.com) and Wisconsin at North Carolina (Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3.com).

The 2011 Challenge – once again featuring top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner’s Cup — involves six teams ranked in an early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz, including three in the top five: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Duke, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 21 Florida State and No. 23 Michigan. (more…)


Carmel DE Shawn Heffern picks IU

Carmel defensive end Shawn Heffern has committed to Indiana, according to this report by 24/7 Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.

Heffern picked the Hoosiers over Purdue, Central Michigan, Toledo and Western Michigan. He is the 16th commitment for the Class of 2012.

More on this story later.

UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: Spoke to Shawn Heffern earlier. The 6-foot-6 240-pounder said the number of in-state players Indiana had already convinced to commit played a big part in his decision. Some of the players were texting him and suggesting that he should join them.

“Most of the players, Jacob Bailey, Kevin Davis, Jordan Wallace, Wes Rogers, all of them were pushing me,” Heffern said. “They were saying, ‘You gotta be a Hoosier, man.’ That just helps because I have a lot of respect for Indiana football players, especially from the Indianapolis area.”

Heffern said he was impressed by the coaching staff and already had a long relationship with Mark Hagen, himself a Carmel native.

Hagen said he also had interest from Notre Dame and Michigan State, but Notre Dame wanted him to be an outisde linebacker and Michigan State wanted him to wait for an offer. Heffern made the decision because he felt comfortable with Indiana.


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