Father-son combo helps Hoosiers win on recruiting trail
Signing Day 2017
Tom Allen’s best recruiter this season might turn out to be his son.
While the new Indiana coach used his history as a high school football veteran to nab six in-state recruits and a different approach to sell the Hoosiers’ program to prospects, it was Allen’s son, Thomas, who got two of his high school teammates from Tampa to give Indiana a chance.
Now, after signing 23 players in his first recruiting class Wednesday, Allen can’t wait to see the payoff.
“Obviously I had a connection with him being on my son’s team and had a chance to go watch a lot of practices and got to see him a lot,” Allen said, referring to safety Juwan Burgess , perhaps the best player in his first recruiting class. “He’s a heck of a football player who played both sides of the ball. He’s going to be a safety for us. He’s a really, really tough guy.”
Burgess originally committed to Southern California.
But after Allen’s son, a linebacker, heard his dad’s recruiting pitch, Burgess and receiver De’Angelo “Whop” Philyor both decided to play for the Hoosiers.
For the Allens, it will be different.
They will work together on the practice field every day instead of perhaps getting together once each fall – if the younger Allen had chosen another school. And after seeking advice from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, the elder Allen laid out some ground rules.
“He’s going to be treated like everyone else, he’s got to earn his weight and he knows that,” Allen said. “What happens here (on the field), stays here and he doesn’t go running home and tell mom. And he knows that.”
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No.
Best in class: Burgess, S, Tampa. Allen wanted to get bigger and faster on defense and the 6-foot, 185-pound safety should help the Hoosiers do both.
Best of the rest: Bryant Fitzgerald, DB, Avon, and Harry Crider, OL, Columbus, were selected as the best players in the state at their position. Both could become key contributors next season. Also keep an eye on Nick Tronti, QB, Ponte Vedra, Florida, who led his team to a state championship and was named the state’s Mr. Football Award winner last year.
Late addition: Raheem Layne, DB, Sebastian, Florida, decommitted from Minnesota after the coaching change and signed with the Hosiers.
One that got away: Russ Yeast, ATH/WR, Greenwood. After transferring from Fremont Ross in Ohio, Yeast was named Indiana’s Gatorade player of the year and then chose Louisville.
How they’ll fit in: It’s a tough class to grade because Allen can use so many of these players in different spots. But the Hoosiers clearly added size and depth and only lost one recruit after the surprise coaching change in December.