Position Need – The Hoosiers expect to have a sophomore starter this season (Kellen Lewis), a redshirt freshman back-up (Ben Chappell), and a true freshman waiting in the wings (Teddy Schell) and they won’t lose any scholarship quarterbacks at season’s end to graduation. But they do want to sign a signal caller in this year’s class and up their scholarship quarterback total to four. Judging by ones IU has either offered and shown serious interest, it’s a dual threat QB that they’re after…
MarQueis Gray, 6-4, 215, Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis) – The Ben Davis quarterback isn’t just the Hoosiers’ No. 1 quarterback target, he might just be the program’s No. 1 priority in the 2008 recruiting class. At 6’4” and 215 pounds he’s got the size, athleticism and arm strength to be a special player at the collegiate level. While his junior season statistics (73-of-140 passing for 1,113 yards and 12 TDs; 127 rushes for 603 yards and seven scores) aren’t staggering totals, he has all of the tools to blossom as a senior and at the next level. The IU staff is so enamored with Gray they offered him during IU’s 7-on-7 camp last summer, and they’ll likely wait on taking a commitment from a quarterback until they know where they stand with the Ben Davis H.S. quarterback.
Scholarship offers are already coming in for Gray from around the Midwest, and he figures to add to his current list of IU, Minnesota and a handful of MAC schools soon. One thing in IU’s favor is its interest in Gray’s prep teammates Tandon Doss and Lavarus Williams. The wideout Doss says Indiana is his leader, while Williams has suggested the same. The trio has said, if possible, they’d like to play together, and IU provides that opportunity.
Tyler Bass, 6-3, 205, Stockbridge, Ga. (Stockbridge) – There are plenty of similarities between Bass and Gray. Bass also has good size, and had a good mix of running and throwing the ball as a junior (1,190 yards, 16 TDs passing; 91 rushes, 595 yards, six TDs rushing). It’s becoming pretty obvious Terry Hoeppner’s staff likes the Kellen Lewis-type signal caller who poses a threat with his arm as well as his feet. Bass doesn’t have the same combine numbers as Gray (Gray ran a 4.72 40 while Bass was clocked at 4.97), but he’s another QB who’s interest figures to pick up in the coming weeks.
Justin Tuggle, 6-2, 205, Duluth, Ga. (Northview) – Indiana offered Tuggle in April, and he fits the Gray/Bass mold as well. He’s a 6-3, 205-pounder who’s been described as “cat quick,” someone who’s adept at making a play once the play breaks down. The Hoosiers were the second to extend an offer, joining Mississippi State. Tuggle broke a bone in his forearm in the sixth game of his junior season and missed the remainder of the campaign, but still managed to throw for 883 yards and nine touchdowns.
Star Jackson, 6-3, 185, Lake Worth, Fla. (Lake Worth) – Jackson hasn’t been garnering many stars yet from most recruiting services, but that figures to change thanks to the big-time programs that are showing interest – including Indiana. Georgia, Purdue, Alabama and West Virginia are among those who have offered the dual threat QB, who accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of total offense as a junior.
Jeffrey Legree, 6-2, 173, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Ft. Hamilton) – Legree threw for 2,000 yards and 19 TDs and rushed for another 650 and seven more scores as a junior, again fitting the dual-threat mode IU has targeted. He hasn’t been offered by Indiana, and his location in New York – an area IU hasn’t targeted seriously since Gerry DiNardo departed – makes it a bit of a stretch to think he’ll be a player IU pursues vigorously. But IU’s correspondence has apparently made an impression on Legree, who mentions IU when he talks recruiting.
Sal Battles, 5-11, 205, Youngstown, Ohio (East) – A three-year starter at Rayen H.S., Battles will be headed to Youngstown East H.S. this season because Rayen has closed down. He’s coming off a junior season that included 750 yards passing and 850 yards rushing and a combined 24 touchdowns. Indiana assistant coach Bobby Johnson is looking closely at Battles, although it’s a good bet he’d wind up at another position than quarterback at the collegiate level.
Deron Furr, 6-3, 210, Columbus, Ga. (Carver-Columbus) – Furr passed for more than 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior, and has reportedly earned an IU scholarship offer. But IU appears to be recruiting him as an athlete, as are most of the programs on his list – Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Georgia, Tulane, Kentucky and Duke.
Mike Hladik, 6-3, 200, Columbus, Ind. (North) - Hladik was an attendee at IU’s Junior Day. He completed 164-of-312 passes for 2,265 yards, 24 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, helping lead Columbus North to a sectional and regional championship in the fall.
Brandon Kiel, QB, 6-3, 172, Fishers, Ind. (Hamilton Southeastern) – Another IU Junior Day attendee, Kiel is the son of former Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel, who was a four-year starter in South Bend from 1980-83. As a junior, Kiel competed 77-of-148 passes for 1,072 yards and nine touchdowns. He was intercepted six times.