Tom Allen and the Indiana football program enter a critical season — both on the field and the recruiting trail. The ability to turn around the program from a 6-18 record over the past two seasons is something that needs to happen quickly.
As Allen enters his seventh season at Indiana, the inability to build momentum and sustain it has been a major factor in building a successful football program in the Big Ten. A large part of that is due to recruiting.
While Allen has maintained a relatively even level of talent that has come in, in relation to the previous staff, it’s a part of the program that needs to step up especially with the landscape of NIL and the transfer portal.
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In the three years prior to Allen’s first full season as head coach, IU’s average recruiting class was ranked No. 56 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Those classes, however, were a large reason for Indiana’s ability to go 8-5 in 2019 and reach the Gator Bowl.
Since Allen took over the program, including the 2023 and 2024 classes, he has averaged a class ranking of 49.7 in the 247sports Composite Rankings.
While team rankings are highly impacted by the size of the recruiting class, it reflects Indiana’s difficulty landing the number of players to offset the struggles at landing top talent around the country.
And, that’s exactly what you see with IU’s current 2024 class. While the Indiana football program entered June with just three commitments, it has now landed 13 players in just a little over one month, bringing it’s current class to 16 commitments and a ranking of 55 overall.
According to Rivals National Recruiting Analyst Clint Cosgrove, Indiana still has ‘plenty to be desired’ with its 2024 class.
“A class currently ranked dead last in the conference recruiting rankings, there is plenty to be desired at this point in the 2024 recruiting cycle for Hoosier fans,” Cosgrove wrote. “That being said, this recruiting class is leaps and bounds ahead of where the program was at this point last year, when it only had a handful of commits in the boat. The renewed emphasis on recruiting the Midwest appears to be paying off and is something to follow as we get closer to signing day.”
A year after going 2-10 and ending the season without a single Big Ten victory, Indiana landed the top class in program history, ranked 25th overall and fifth in the conference.
However, it was a 4-8 record last season that was in large part due to some of the previous classes’ lack of talent and depth.
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2023’s class finished ranked 69th overall and last in the Big Ten. And that trend is continuing in 2024, sitting at the bottom of the league currently.
The biggest emphasis for Allen and the rest of the Indiana football staff has been versatility, athleticism and speed. It was a weakness that Indiana had when breaking down the last two seasons and that’s what Allen has preached with the last two classes.
“When I think about this class and what they bring to us, just trying to emphasize length, athleticism,” Allen said of IU’s 2023 class. “You know, obviously speed is always going to be a variable we’re trying to improve here, but really trying to get bigger, longer guys. It always is about fit for me. That will never change no matter where they come from.”
It’s an understatement to say the remaining 2024 class is critical in getting IU back to a competitive level in the Big Ten.
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