Any time a coaching change is made, the potential of losing committed recruits increases.
Bill Lynch and his Indiana staff didn't win enough Big Ten games at Indiana, but they upgraded the program's recruiting efforts recently. Lynch and his assistants were good at identifying attainable prospects early in the process and getting them to commit well in advance of National Signing Day. The pattern was holding true for the 2011 class.
But Lynch's firing in November caused several Indiana recruits to look elsewhere. Two prospects that committed to Indiana, defensive end C.J. Robbins and defensive back Nick VanHoose, have switched their commitments to Northwestern this week. VanHoose switched his commitment following a visit to Northwestern this weekend, and Robbins did the same.
An interesting subplot is that new Indiana coach Kevin Wilson spent three seasons (1999-2001) as a Northwestern assistant and worked with Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald in 2001. Not sure if Fitz will be receiving a Christmas card from Wilson, but as coaches like to say, recruiting is recruiting.
Indiana may also lose heralded defensive back Raymon Taylor, who committed to IU this summer but recently said he's looking around at other programs. Taylor visited Iowa during the weekend. And another heralded defensive recruit, linebacker Zack Shaw, says he remains committed to IU but recently visited West Virginia.
Considering Indiana's chronic woes on defense, it's important for Wilson to get both Taylor and Shaw on board. The coach wants to take his time to hire a defensive coordinator, but as an offense-oriented coach, it's hard for Wilson to sell his vision without a defensive staff in place.
It will be interesting to see what Indiana's class looks like in February.