Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coach Hope Not Connecting With In-State Prospects?

Michael Pointer of the Indy Star has probably earned himself a contract on his head from Morgan Burke by writing this article saying that Danny Hope has been unable to connect with in-state -- and specifically Indy-area -- recruits.

I'm not close enough follower of football recruiting to know how accurate any of this is, but it's hard to argue with the points that Pointer makes:
  • Purdue has landed just seven of Indianapolis' three-star recruits, according to Rivals.com during Hope's tenure
  • Purdue has brought in none of the 14 four-star players
  • In the five classes prior to that, Purdue landed eight of the 17 three-stars and two of the five four-stars
  • Defensive end Robert Maci (Cathedral) and linebacker Joe Gilliam (Southport) were the only Indianapolis area players listed on the two-deep depth chart entering preseason practice
Hope's comment on it all?

"If all of them good guys would have come to Purdue the first year I was here, we wouldn't have taken as many from Florida," said Hope, referring to the 2008 recruiting class in which Purdue missed out on some high-level Indianapolis targets.

I see. Hear that, Florida recruits?

To be fair, the story also features Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner and Pike coach Derek Moyers commenting on how much they see and are in contact with Coach Hope and the recruiting staff of the football program, especially as compared to Joe Tiller, who Kirschner says he never spoke personally with.

It sounds like these guys are indeed hustling and are making the recruiting effort that we chided Tiller for not making in his later, more tired years. So what's going on?

It could be just a shift in the times. It could be bad luck. It could be coach Mark Hagen's defection from Purdue IU two years ago. Hagen was "the Boilermakers' primary recruiter in Indianapolis for nearly a decade." How big a deal is that? Hard to say. And it certainly didn't start this downward trend.

It's possible that the coaches, such as Landholm (who is largely responsible for the Indy area) and Hope, aren't having the impact on the recruits that they need to have. Or maybe it's the on-campus visits and seeing the second-smallest venue in the Big Ten not nearly filled to capacity, or seeing students nearly rioting when they "upset" a 6-6 team. Those things aren't lost on 4 star recruits, especially when they can do a nearly side-by-side comparison against another program with twice as many fans in the stands and more success on the field.

Whatever it is, it is just one more log on the metaphorical fire that is this season. The question now becomes, will it be a bonfire, with a joyful, partylike atmosphere? Or a dumpster fire, with messy results?


Ben C said...

Knowing Purdue, it will be a Coke machine fire in the middle of Stadium Avenue. It's been a while since we had one of those.

COD said...

It looks like most of the kids are leaving the state. Maybe they just want to get the hell out of Indiana?

Boilergal said...

If Indiana was the mecca of HS football, maybe that would be an issue. I would just be happy winning. If Hope does that with Florida players- great! It's not like Hope is missing out on the nation's best like Painter would be if he didn't recruit Indiana well. Seems everyone was plenty happy with a certain Texas QB a little over a decade ago. Hope should go after the best players he can get.

MrAnonymous said...

I agree with Boilergal. All I hear on TV is how great these kids are from Florida, Texas, and California. Not a peep on ESPN about how Indiana is the focal point about which college recruiting rotates. This is a non-story in my book.

BoilerPaulie said...

So, yeah... Boilergal said everything that needs to be said.

The Starving Guitarist said...

Yeah, if Hope's future recruiting classes are anywhere near as good as last year's, I don't care where they come from.

J Money said...

All valid points. I'm just the messenger here, making ya'll aware of what's being said about your Boilers.

zlionsfan said...

couch fire. East Lansing and Morgantown can't be wrong.

Recruiting ratings are always up for questioning, but even if we accept those rankings at face value, I think Pointer should be looking at that information in context.

Purdue has never been a football power and will probably never be one - basketball will always be #1 here, and there will always be schools like Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame who will be close enough to recruit Indiana kids and strong enough in one or more ways to win recruiting battles with Purdue if they want to. Couple that with the state's relatively low population, and it's just not going to be that easy for a Purdue coach to recruit in-state, even coming off a 9- or 10-win season. (Tiller had 15 freshmen from Indiana on his 2001 roster, but that included guys like Bobby Farmer and Jim Guidos.)

Anyway, it's not like the number of in-state recruits has any bearing on the quality of the team. Schools like USC, Ohio State, and Florida can do well year in and year out with in-state talent because they have huge pools of in-state talent to draw from ... and yet they all recruit nationally, because the important thing is to find kids who fit your system and can contribute.

I think there are a number of things worth questioning about Hope's tenure so far, as we've discussed on a number of occasions here, but his apparently inability to land in-state talent probably isn't one of them. I do appreciate the circumstances that may have led Pointer to write the article, though. I'm sure there are some people who wonder why there aren't that many IN players on Purdue's roster. (24, according to ESPN.com.) And there's not that much to write about yet ... might as well ask those questions.

zlionsfan said...

also, Google's new comment form still sucks. I miss the days when it realized I was already logged in - if you're not, there's no option to follow comments via email. (Also, half the new captchas aren't even letters.)