First-Year Factor?

With only one year of play in the secondary, Warren Central H.S. product Chris Adkins could wind up being one of the big sleepers in this yera's class. His high school coach, Steve Tutsie, thinks he might be able to help IU right away...

Could Chris Adkins be this year's Rodger Saffold?

A year ago, there was plenty of signing day hype around a handful of incoming Hoosier recruits, but very little talk about Beford, Ohio, offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. That all changed once fall camp came to a close, and by the time the Big Ten slate got underway Saffold had not only earned the chance to play as a true freshman, he was the team's starting left tackle.

The 6-1, 175-pound Adkins, meanwhile, has been under the radar as well thanks to the notoriety of high school teammates Jerimy Finch and Jeff Boyd, but Warren Central Coach Steve Tutsie thinks Adkins has a chance to help out early in his IU career.

"I think he's a guy that could come in and play," Tutsie said. "I think his athletic ability will be such that if you refine his skills, he'll be able to help out."

That would be an impressive accomplishment for Adkins, who 12 months ago was preparing to help Warren Central's program on offense rather than defense. A slot back during most of his prep career, Adkins made the switch to the secondary to help the team and enhance his stock at the collegiate level.

"The truth of the matter is Adkins wouldn't be playing at IU if he was still a halfback," Tutsie said. "That's the way it is.

"But at defensive back, he's 6-1 and 175 pounds, and he's very athletic. He has great cover skills. We only had him (on defense) for a year, so he's untapped. He'll continue to get better and I'm sure Coach (Joe) Palcic will refine his skills."

Cornerback is a position IU needs to see plenty of improvement this fall. The Hoosiers return two-year starter Tracy Porter, but the other cornerback spot appears to be wide open for the 0207 season.

"Tall corners are at a premium," Tutsie said. "He's 6-1, and there's a big difference between that and 5-10."

Tutsie thinks the biggest adjustment for Adkins is going to be getting acclimated to the speed of the game at the collegiate level, but he believes it will be a transition he'll be able to make relatively quickly.

"Chris is going to keep getting better," Tutsie said. "The speed of the game will be a change for him, and Chris is at a position where it's feast or famine, but I think he'll adapt well. He's a very intelligent player."

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