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Indiana University

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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
South Side running back Donovan Clark, left, signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play for the Hoosiers.

Defense focus of new group of Hoosiers

– Indiana coach Kevin Wilson likes what South Side’s Donovan Clark can bring to his football team.

Clark was one of 26 players to sign their letters of intent to play for IU on Wednesday, the first day high school seniors who hadn’t already enrolled could join programs.

“He could be a receiver-type slot guy. I think he is going to be a corner guy,” Wilson said of the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Clark. “He’s developing. He’s getting some size to him. He comes in a little smaller than some of our other DBs, but you watch him, he plays with a physical presence for a smaller guy. He runs hard when he’s got the ball. When he comes up to hit you he is very aggressive and assertive. He’s not tentative.

“I think he is an all-around athlete. He may not be as long as some other guys, but he is very, very fast.”

IU’s recruiting class was ranked No. 37 by Rivals.com, No. 44 by Scout.com and No. 51 by 247Sports.

The Hoosiers added 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle Derrian Meminger; 6-3, 245-pound linebacker Robert McCray III; 6-2, 205-pound safety Zeke Walker; and 6-2, 215-pound defensive back Chris Covington on Wednesday, but IU lost linebacker Airius Moore from the class when he decided to sign with North Carolina State.

“We got a few. We lose a few,” Wilson said. “These are all guys on paper, it might look good, but we still have to do a great job of developing. I think it is a longer group of kids, more range, more length, more size, hopefully guys who can play a little faster and bigger on the field and make us a little more competitive.”

Clark is part of the second wave of defensive players IU has focused on bringing in the last two years. The Hoosiers signed 13 last year.

IU added 14 defensive players this year with 6-foot, 290-pound Mike Barwick; 6-4, 245-pound Nick Carovillano; and 6-3, 290-pound Jermane Conyers joining Meminger at defensive line; 6-2, 245-pound Greg Gooch and 6-foot, 205-pound Tegray Scales joining McCray at linebacker; and 5-11, 195-pound Will Dawkins and 5-11, 210-pound Tony Fields joining Clark, Covington and Walker in the defensive backfield.

“Hopefully with last year’s signing and now this year with these 14 cats, who are potentially defensive players, that we can enhance the competition and ability to make plays on the defensive side,” Wilson said.

Wilson also liked what he added at receiver with the Hoosiers putting an emphasis on bringing in bigger players for the position.

IU brought in 6-1, 200-pound Dominique Booth, who is already enrolled; 6-4, 210-pound Simmie Cobbs; 6-2, 190-pound Coray Keel; along with 5-8, 175-pound J-Shun Harris II to play receiver.

“In the basketball world, we weren’t taking point guards this year, we were trying to get those power forward guys,” Wilson said.

IU had its highest-rated recruiting class last season, and Wilson said this class has similarities to that group and some pluses that last year’s group didn’t.

“I think last year we had a couple of those quote on-paper names that give you a little more splash,” Wilson said. “I think this one has a little more depth, a little more quality through it. I think they are good kids, a lot of potential, and I think we hit on some areas that we needed.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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