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Monday, October 4, 2010
Indiana grows 'em big

By Craig Haubert
ESPN Recruiting

Indiana will forever have a tight connection to the game of basketball. The state is the birthplace of John Wooden, the place where Bobby Knight became a household name, and as the inspiration for the movie "Hoosiers." The state with a rich roundball history though has a love for the game of football and can be a place to find some good talent. The Hoosier state is limited in the elite amount of prospects it produces, but it has proven to be consistent. Indiana has produced at least one ESPNU 150 prospect every year and last year saw three players finish in the ESPNU 150, the highest total since we've been producing the rankings.

This year only one player, guard Kiaro Holts (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) has landed among the top 150 prospects in the nation, but overall the talent level in the state is as strong as any of the recent years. Indiana is home to four four-star prospects including top 15 outside linebacker Armonze Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon). The strength in the state this year is in the trenches as half of the top 10 prospects are either offensive of defensive linemen, including the top two -- teammates Holts and defensive tackle Kris Harley (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central).

Top prospect

Kiaro Holts Indiana has produced one ESPNU 150 offensive line prospect every year since 2008 and this year it's Holt. The North Carolina commit displays the versatility to play tackle or guard in college, though we feel playing inside may be a little better fit for him. At 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, he has good height and the frame to add more size. His strength is as a run blocker as he can get into defenders, generate good power from his lower body, and drive them off the ball. He also possesses good agility and balance and can block well in space. He needs some polish as a pass protector, but can get set quickly and bend well. The Under Armour All-American is an aggressive blocker with good ability and upside. Despite the turbulence in Chapel Hill surrounding the football program, North Carolina looks to still be in good shape with Holts.

Remember this name

Joel Hale
(Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove)
With the strength of this class being in the trenches, it seems only appropriate to keep an eye on a promising big man from the state. Hale, an Ohio State commit, is not someone you would say flew under the radar (he had a healthy amount of scholarship offers to chose from), but he is somewhat of a hidden gem and has the tools to develop into a good defensive tackle in Columbus. Hale, 6-4, 290 pounds, has good size and should be able to add more bulk and comfortably play at around 300 pounds. He plays with a good motor and can move well. He is tough versus the run and with some development could also be a disruptive interior pass rusher. Hale combines good size and ability and should develop into a very productive member of the Buckeyes' defensive line. Ohio State has only signed two other prospects from the Hoosier state since 2006 they have gotten a pretty good third one from here in Hale.

Taking up residence

Things have been active on the recruiting trail in the Hoosier state. Indiana and Ball State have been the most active in-state, but programs from all over have come in to pluck a prospect. Of the top 20 committed prospects in the state, 10 are committed to 10 different out-of-state programs ranging from near-by Kentucky to Stanford. The other 10 are either committed to the Hoosiers or the Cardinals.

ACC Coastal
ACC A pair of teams from that division of the ACC have come into the Hoosier state and lured away the top two prospects. For the second year in a row the Tar Heels have landed the top offensive line prospect in the state. The Virginia Tech Hokies have also dipped into Indiana and landed Harley, who lacks ideal size, but is an active and physical player who can get off the ball quickly. So far it has not been a great year for either team, but at least the Tar Heels and Hokies can say their time in Indiana has paid off.

Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana Of the top 10 committed prospects, only two are committed to the in-state Hoosiers. While Indiana has missed out on a good portion of the top-tier talent in the state, it has been busy within its own borders. Indiana has commitments from seven in-state prospects led by a pair of good three-star prospects in running back D'Angelo Roberts (Bloomington, Ind./North) and tight end Jake Reed (Columbus, Ind./North). Roberts, who goes to high school in the shadow of the IU campus, is a good, well-rounded back. Reed is a good-sized and aggressive blocking tight end. The in-state haul at this point is rounded out by a pair of solid three-star prospects and a trio of high two-star prospects.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame The Fighting Irish recruit on a national level, but they do have one in-state prospect on board in three-star offensive tackle prospect Tony Springmann (Fort Wayner, Ind./Bishop Dwenger). He needs to keep developing his frame and improve his technique, but we like the his upside.

Florida Gators
FloridaThe Gators got a kick out of their time in Indiana as they landed top-five kicking prospect Kyle Christy (Brownsburg, Ind.). A likely punter in college, Christy could also handle kickoffs for the Gators.

Ball State
Ball StateThe top five prospects in Ball State's class all hail from out of state, but the Cardinals do have four two-star in-state prospects on board, led by offensive tackle Tyler Rayburn (Columbus, Ind./East).

Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has more than a decade of coaching experience.