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Friday, October 19, 2012
Indiana defensive recruiting picks up

By Adam Rittenberg

The Indiana team you've seen so far in Big Ten play probably looks familiar.

Strong quarterback play, dynamic receivers, enough Big Ten-level athletes on offense, not nearly enough defense ... and a team that simply can't get over the hump. Second-year coach Kevin Wilson, as many of us expected, has it going on the offensive side. But Indiana's narrative hasn't changed: until the defense takes significant steps, the program won't turn a corner.

That's why the most promising news coming out of Bloomington this week isn't the fact Indiana paced Ohio State and put up 49 points in last Saturday's loss. It's the fact Indiana is closing in on two coveted defensive recruits from within the Hoosier State -- both of whom had pledged to other Big Ten programs.

Defensive end David Kenney III, rated as the state's No. 6 prospect by ESPN Recruiting, recently decommitted from Iowa and is favoring Indiana, where his father is working as a recruiting assistant. His IU pledge could come later Friday.

Another in-state defensive standout, defensive tackle Darius Latham, decommitted from Wisconsin on Monday and is considering Indiana. ESPN Recruiting rates Latham as the state's No. 4 prospect.

Indiana has 10 commits for the 2013 class, headlined by defensive back Antonio Allen, an Indianapolis prospect who switched his pledge from Mississippi to IU in August. Allen is the state's No. 7 prospect, according to ESPN Recruiting.

Other in-state players, including Iowa linebacker commit John Kenny, could be looking more seriously at Indiana.

Indiana isn't as flush with FBS talent as other states in the Big Ten footprint, but Indianapolis produces quite a few elite players. If the Hoosiers can start getting more of the top defensive players to stay home, they'll start shifting a unit that has been the Big Ten's worst for more than a decade.