NCF Nation: Jake Reed

Indiana is among the Big Ten's deepest teams at the offensive skill positions, but a young, talented offensive line returning four starters might have been the unit's biggest reason for optimism.

Make that three returning starters.

The Hoosiers' line has suffered a significant blow as right guard Dan Feeney will miss the entire 2013 season after suffering a right foot injury in last week's scrimmage. Head coach Kevin Wilson said Tuesday that Feeney has a Lisfranc fracture and will undergo surgery.

Feeney and tackle Jason Spriggs both set team freshman records in 2012 by starting all 12 games. Feeney, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, didn't allow a sack in 935 snaps and finished second on the team in knockdowns with 54.

Indiana still has good depth up front and likely will turn to sophomore Jake Reed to fill Feeney's spot. But Feeney and Spriggs had been pegged by many to lead the line this fall. Feeney's absence could sting.

The 6-4, 310-pound Feeney has a redshirt year available and will retain three years of eligibility.
Indiana coach Bill Lynch remembers eleventh-hour recruiting.

Until recent years, he found himself right in the thick of it.

For decades, Lynch anticipated his schedule in late January and early February to be consumed with finding high school players to fill the final few spots of a recruiting class. It was standard procedure during his tenure as Ball State's coach from 1995-2002. The down-to-the-wire scramble continued when Lynch arrived at Indiana in January 2005, and remained for several years as the program made another transition from Terry Hoeppener to Lynch.

"Shoot, man, we were looking for guys the weekend before signing day," Lynch recalled. "We were scrambling to fill a class."

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Maxwell KrugerBill Lynch has already collected 20 verbal commitments for the 2011 class.
Of the 24 players Indiana signed in 2005, 14 committed in January or early February and another didn't sign until after National Signing Day. Things improved for the 2006 class, but Indiana still got seven commitments after Jan. 1, plus a junior college addition in June.

Back then, the idea of wrapping up a recruiting class in July or August sounded laughable.

Fast-forward to last week, as Lynch talked about where Indiana stood for its 2011 recruiting haul.

"We're right at the end," he said.

The calendar read July 15.

Indiana has turned heads in Midwest recruiting circles by already collecting 20 verbal commitments for the 2011 class. The Hoosiers' total leads the Big Ten and ranks among the national leaders. Indiana has 17 more commits than Penn State and 14 more than archrival Purdue.

Although the class likely won't rank among the national leaders come February, Lynch and his staff have unquestionably upgraded their overall talent, landing decorated prospects like linebacker Zack Shaw, athlete Raymon Taylor, tight end Jake Reed and running back D'Angelo Roberts, who pledged last week.

"We've been fortunate to kind of jump ahead," Lynch said, "but throughout the process, we felt like there were kids we had targeted who we felt like we could get. We felt like we could get a good number."

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