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Local colleges

Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Bishop Luers’ TyVel Jemison signed a letter of intent to play for Purdue next season. Jemison will play defensive back for the Boilers’ new head coach, Darrell Hazell.

IU boasts program’s best class

New Purdue coach lands state’s top-ranked QB

– Indiana, Purdue, Ball State and Saint Francis brought in talent for the programs’ futures on national signing day.

Here is a look at who the Hoosiers, Boilermakers, Cardinals and Cougars added to their rosters Wednesday, the first day high school players could sign with college programs:


The Hoosiers brought in the program’s highest-ranked class since recruiting rankings started.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson signed 22 players, five from the state, including Homestead receiver Isaac Griffith. The Hoosiers, who went 4-8, 2-6 in the Big Ten last year, were ranked No. 41 by, No. 51 by and No. 42 by 247Sports.

IU focused on beefing up a defense that gave up 35.2 points and 463.5 yards per game by bringing in 13 defensive players (six linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs). The haul includes safety Antonio Allen from Ben Davis and defensive end David Kenney from Pike, who are both rated four-star prospects.

The Hoosiers’ other four-star recruits were athlete Rashard Fant and defensive tackle Darius Latham.

“They got some guys that I think can be difference makers for them across the defensive line and at the linebacker position and then in the secondary,” said Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports national writer. “It’s a really good class on the defensive side of the ball for Indiana, and that is obviously what they need.”


Darrell Hazell brought in 23 players in his first recruiting class after taking over for the fired Danny Hope after the Boilermakers went 6-7, 3-5 Big Ten last year.

Hazell added 13 players to the 10 that had committed to Purdue under Hope.

The Boilermakers added Bishop Luers defensive back TyVel Jemison, and they hung on to one of the class’ biggest prizes – Terre Haute South Vigo quarterback Danny Etling.

Etling is the only four-star recruit in the class, which is ranked No. 55 by, No. 61 by and No. 62 by 247Sports. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Etling threw for 1,505 yards with 11 touchdowns as a senior.

Etling enrolled early at Purdue along with defensive end John Strauser and running back David Yancey.

“They hit a home run at the quarterback position.” Wiltfong said. “He’s the best quarterback in the state, and he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country in my mind. … He’ll have a chance to compete, because coach Hazell is not going to be loyal to anybody. And him getting in there early and getting in spring ball, he’ll have a chance to get in front of that new staff and show them what he can do.”

Ball State

Fresh off a 9-4 season and its first bowl appearance since 2009, the Cardinals signed 21 recruits from nine states – Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma.

The list of signees includes 10 defensive players and nine offensive or defensive linemen – and seven players from North Carolina alone, where head coach Pete Lembo coached at Elon University and still has strong recruiting roots.

Ball State’s class is ranked No. 98 by, No. 85 by and No. 109 by 247Sports.

Notable are 6-foot-7, 337-pound all-stater Haris Vrabac from Warren, Mich., the largest recruit; 5-9, 167-pound defensive back David Moore from Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., who played on USA Today’s third-ranked team and whose teams went 57-2 in his career; 6-1, 199-pound Jack Milas of Arlington Heights, Ill., the lone quarterback to sign; 5-9, 171-pound Teddy Williamson of O’Fallon, Mo., the lone running back signed; and 6-4, 234-pound all-state tight end Calvin Blanks from Terre Haute North.

“We are excited to welcome this outstanding group of student-athletes to Ball State, Muncie and to the Mid-American Conference,” Lembo said.

“We have added a lot of talent to our roster with this class, but perhaps more importantly, we are surrounding ourselves with some terrific leaders and charismatic personalities,” Lembo added.

Saint Francis

Eleven athletes from northeast Indiana were part of the 24 players who have committed to extend their football careers at Saint Francis.

Josh Spitnale, a kicker and punter for Class 5A state runner-up Snider, heads the list of local players who will be freshmen next season for the Cougars.

Other local athletes who have committed: Caleb Brown, offensive lineman, Angola; Seth Coate, wide receiver, Homestead; Taron Grahm, wide receiver, North Side; C.J. Jackson, quarterback, North Side; Nolan McMahon, kicker, Homestead; Yeshwa Moore, defensive back, South Side; Elliott Nelson, defensive back, New Haven; Thomas Nolan, tight end-defensive end, South Side; Jason Nicodemus, running back, Churubusco; and Tyler Zaegel, offensive lineman, Carroll.

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