by Kent Sterling
There are only so many hours in the day, and writing about more than one topic is just about impossible given the time needed to prepare for a three-hour radio show where relevant sports information is presented in relative bulk.
This morning, when I would normally be writing, I was in Bloomington covering the National Signing Day event held by the Indiana University Athletic Department for the football team.
Head coach Kevin Wilson, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, defensive coordinator Brian Knorr, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld shared their thoughts on the 22 new recruits who signed and faxed (this is the only continued use of the arcane technology of the fax machine) letters of intent that bind them to Wilson’s program. Those interviews will air throughout today’s Kent Sterling Show on CBS Sports 1430 in Indianapolis (3p-6p).
The good recruiting news seemed like a more uplifting story than the ass whooping Wisconsin dealt to the basketball Hoosiers last night, and more universally cared about than the impressive win by Butler last night over St. John’s at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
That decision was easy until my phone blew up with the news of Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s arrest in Washington DC for allegedly punching a pizza delivery guy twice in the head after a brief dispute over a parking spot.
The Colts have endured a spate of irrational and irresponsible behavior that includes a rape charge, multiple DUI’s (including one by owner Jim Irsay), several suspensions, and a player missing the team bus to the airport for the AFC Championship Game.
Behavior has been made an issue by the Colts during media availabilities where the term “Horseshoe guys” is bandied about like it represents a culture that is recruited to. Whatever methodology the Colts are using to weed to Horseshoes from the knuckleheads needs some serious re-tooling if the result is what behavior has been associated with the Colts over the past 12 months.
Interesting decision – another step in the right direction for the Hoosiers, or another mess on 56th Street for the Colts. Maybe a post about the decision itself splits the baby. Genius.
Jackson is by all appearances a really good guy who has seemed genuinely decent in his dealings with the media. No arrests in his past that I can find, and no incidents of TMZ-like behavior either. Always seems like a good “Horseshoe guy,” but we know that the media gets very limited time and small window into the true character of a man.
Is it out of character from what we might expect from D’Qwell Jackson to visualize him pounding the hell out of some minimum wage schlepper of pies? Absolutely, but what do we know of a man’s character based upon how he behaves with the media around?
In Bloomington, Kevin Wilson appeared to take another couple of dozen swings at that giant rock he’s trying to crack in rebuilding the formerly moribund Indiana University Football program.
On Signing Day, no news can be good news, and it was today. All of the recruits expected to pledge Indiana faxed in their LOI, and the Hoosiers are being ranked anywhere from third to seventh in the conference in the reports I’ve been tracking. Those who rank Indiana in the upper third of the Big Ten are including UAB transfers RB Jordan Howard and WR Marqui Hawkins, but why shouldn’t they be included. Hey, any reason for hope of a season ending with a bowl should be embraced.
Howard was the seventh most prolific running back in the nation last year – replacing second best Tevin Coleman, so where there appeared to be a void, now there is strength.
Area Indiana signees include DL Joe Belden (Avon), athlete Isaac James (Carmel), and OL Brandon Knight (Noblesville).
This is Indiana’s third consecutive outstanding recruiting class, and where Indiana had always been ranked at or very near the bottom of the Big Ten, now the standard is much higher.
The challenge, as always, remains in developing those recruits in winners at the Big Ten level. More rocks to crack in Bloomington. And a culture to build, rather than simply sell on 56th Street.