Yesterday afternoon, quarterback Tyler Cherry officially signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for the Indiana Hoosiers. Cherry is the 263rd-ranked player in the country, the 17th-ranked quarterback, and the fifth-ranked recruit in Indiana. Although those metrics are important and -- barring injury -- Cherry should have a great career in Bloomington, that's not why this signing is most important.
Cherry traveling less than an hour down I-69 to play his college football instead of going to Durham, North Carolina, Lansing, Michigan, or Charlottesville, Virginia, proves that the Hoosiers administration is serious about being competitive in the new Big Ten.
Cignetti also proved his mettle as a recruiter. Mike Elko's departure from Duke was one of the primary reasons Cherry decommitted from the Blue Devils. Cignetti and his staff had an opening, and they took full advantage.
Traditionally, Indiana does not get this caliber of recruit. The Hoosiers signed three of the top 15 players in the state. “I just think that the vision that Coach Cignetti has for the program, I think they’re going to take them to new heights and to championships,” Cherry told 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong. "... “Just Coach Tino (Sunseri) and Coach (Mike) Shanahan, the offensive coordinators, they have a great track record of quarterbacks, and they have a great track record of developing guys, and I can’t wait to get working with them and to try and reach my best.”
One-third of Indiana's high school class is from the state. Indiana high school football continues to improve in its development of Division I level football prospects, especially around the Indianapolis metro area. Cignetti has a fertile recruiting ground -- both developmental and instant impact players -- within two hours of Bloomington, and the University seems to want to make the investment in the program.