As its name would quite obviously suggest, Texas Roadhouse was founded.... in Clarksville, Indiana. Since then, the chain has expanded to have at least one store in every US state and a handful of foreign countries. Why it's part of the Potluck: To honor the 5 players on IU's roster from the state of Texas (but mostly because I find it funny that Texas Roadhouse started in Indiana).
It's taken a couple of years, but Kevin Wilson seems to finally be bringing in groups of athletes capable of making his system work fairly efficiently. While I don't pretend to pay a ton of attention to recruiting, Indiana's been getting much better classes than they have in the past, and better classes bring even better classes. What has Kevin Wilson been able to do differently for the Hoosiers than just about every one of his predecessors in getting these talented young athletes?
Andrew Kraszewski: Put simply, his recruiting crescendoed a couple of years ago, when his system had gained some notoriety and massive amounts of playing time came open. Without the same number of snaps to offer, the draw hasn't proven as strong in the last two classes, but Wilson can still offer some things: if you're good, we aren't good enough to sit you, and we are going to put up numbers that will get you noticed. Why IU couldn't get that point across when Antwaan Randle El was on campus, who knows.
MNWildcat: Play really fun offensive football. Just worth noting, IU looks like it has a couple stud offensive linemen coming through in 2016. I have no idea if that's true or not, but with Jason Spriggs just being drafted and Rodger Saffold (active) and James Brewer (now a FA) both having gotten their time in the NFL, Kevin Wilson's quietly doing things with that offensive line, too. Of course, Tevin Coleman, Ted Bolser, and Cody Latimer get the headlines, but now with Sudfeld having a shot to be the next next Great White Hope of the Rougedermis, Kevin Wilson's making it clear that if you want to play in the NFL, he can get you there.*
*Applies to offense only.
StewMonkey13: No idea. I barely follow Iowa recruiting much less Indiana. My guess is that it's because Indiana plays in some crazy fun games, and scores bucket loads of points.
AlnamiasIV: I am too lazy to look it up, but I specifically recall an article in which Bob Stoops noted that Kevin Wilson was the best recruiter he ever worked with. Therefore, what has Kevin Wilson done to bring in talented young recruits? Be a top quality recruiter. In truth, I get why IU would attract prospects on offense but I recall Wilson outrecruiting Iowa for a defensive end a few years back and that made no sense to me. By that point, it had been well-established that Indiana scorns defense like Mike Pence scorns the rainbow flag while Iowa, under Kirk Ferentz, puts defensive players in the NFL. So if I'm a defensive end (or linebacker or cornerback) and have any other Power-5 offers besides Indiana then I'm probably taking them. But a receiver or offensive lineman or quarterback? I'd give Indiana a go. That said, the simple answer to the question is that Kevin Wilson is a top-notch recruiter.
Jesse Collins: Well, I’d assume it has to do with a flashy system that makes offensive players look good, but that seems too simplistic. While Indiana is roughly as good as say… Wake Forest football, they play in a much more prestigious league AND if we are being honest, they have the opportunity to show off early and often (usually due to being behind early and often). If you are a fast, athletic receiver, RB, and/or QB, why wouldn’t you want to play on a Wilson offense? It’s a great way to get a look at in the NFL. Or it seems that way at least.
LincolnParkWildcat: Kevin Wilson is a gruff, no nonsense guy working his ass off and selling recruits on the chance to build something. I loved it when he chewed out that Radio DJ a few years back for tauntingly playing the Indiana fight song.
babaoreally: Kids like shiny things, and they don't get much shinier than those awful looking helmets. But some players seem to be drawn to them, like moths to a flame.
GoForThree: I don’t know…has he? Indiana has always managed to have one or two guys who seemed a little too good to be playing ball at Indiana. So in that regard the current crop isn’t all that anomalous. If we’re being honest, he managed to find a QB who was at slinging it around the field and two really good running backs. That’s enough to make almost any system work to the tune of 6 wins. The question is whether he can actually get over the hump and teach his team to be finishers, or to tackle. Preferably both. Until then I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence that he’s brought about a sea change in IU that his predecessors couldn’t. His classes are going up in rankings, but it’s hard to say how much of that is some special talent of his and how much is luck feeding into luck.
Aaron Yorke: The key for Wilson has been his ability to stick around. You can't build up a strong recruiting base at a school like Indiana when you're judged on four mediocre seasons and then booted out the door. The same goes if you stay for four mediocre seasons and then leave for someplace else. The last two Indiana coaches to win a bowl game, Bill Mallory and Lee Corso, both started with crappy programs just like every Indiana coach. The secret to their success was sticking around for a handful of seasons. Now that Wilson has a bowl appearance and some legitimacy under his belt, he should be able to keep this recruiting train going for a little while longer before the team bottoms out and he's replaced. Just kidding (I think). Wilson has a chance to build Indiana into a decent program if that's where he wants to be.