Cignetti's First Recruiting Class a Positive Harbinger of Things to Come

Cignetti put a solid class together in a short amount of time.
Nov 25, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver E.J. Williams Jr. (7)
Nov 25, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver E.J. Williams Jr. (7) / Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

When a new head coach takes over, you can usually throw away that recruiting class. Players de-committ, and it isn't easy to hold a class together. For new Indiana head coach Curt Cignetti and his staff, however, they did a tremendous job of holding their first class together and adding some solid talent.

Indiana signed a total of 26 players during the early signing period (17 high school players and nine transfers). Four-star quarterback Tyler Cherry is the crown jewel of the high school class, featuring five recruits from Indiana. Cignetti and his staff signed five of the top 20 players from the state.

The high school players they signed are developmental and have a ton of upside. Cherry, a Center Grove High School product, has the ideal size at 6-foot-5 and arm talent to be a quality Power Five starter. Offensive tackle Evan Lawrence is long; he'll be a big-time lineman when he adds weight.

Cignetti and the coaching staff did tremendous work in the transfer portal. The staff added some much needed depth and versatility in the running back room with James Madison transfer Ty Son Lawton and Wake Forest transfer Justice Ellison.

The wide receiver room also got some depth and speed with Texas Tech transfer Myles Price and Wake Forest transfer Ke'Shawn Williams. Ohio transfer quarterback Kurtis Rourke will likely start in 2024 to allow Cherry to develop. Wisconsin transfer tackle Trey Wedig fills a need left by Matthew Bedford, who transferred to Oregon.

Not only do you have to recruit high school and the portal, but you also have to recruit your locker room. That staff convincing Donaven McCulley, Carter Smith, and Trent Howland to return instead of transferring was huge. Florida State and Auburn were among the schools pursuing McCulley. Howland was off to Minnesota before deciding to return.

The 2023 class was not a throw-away class for Cignetti and his staff. There is an outstanding mix of developmental and impact players from the transfer portal in this class.