Updated: Jun 30, 2018
Did we miss someone? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
The BIG 10 has something special this year. At the Outdoor National Championships, the conference dominated by taking four of the five distance titles. Although two of those four champions will be leaving the NCAA (Flanagan and Harris), the BIG 10 will still be competitive as always. In fact, five years down the line, it will still be just as strong. After all, Indiana is the 3rd BIG 10 program in our Recruit Rankings.
When you look at the Hoosiers 2018 recruits, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the sheer size of this class. Much like Michigan, Indiana is preparing for the future by bringing in enough names to sustain the program for the long-haul. However, it's not just the never-ending list of names that impresses me. These individuals are some of the nation's best, with times that could immediately have an impact in their first year of collegiate competition.
Of course, not everyone can run under 4:10 or 9:00. A handful of Indiana's recruits may not have times that can compete at the national level, but their accolades and accomplishments make up for that (and then some). Between the talent, the depth, and achievements, Indiana has every right to be at the number two spot.
Let's not create any suspense. Dustin Horter is the headliner of this group and everyone can see why. The 2018 Brooks PR and New Balance national champion is arguably the best miler in the country with a personal best of 4:03 in the 1600 (and 4:04 in the mile). Between his finishes in the mile and 1600, Horter has dipped under the 4:10 barrier 11 different times. That is mind-boggling consistency that puts him on a level of his own.
Yet, Horter doesn't just run fast. He is a winner too. The Ohio superstar has won every outdoor 800 and outdoor 1600 he's run in since 2016. Altogether, Horter has 78 career wins, a total that I have never seen anyone else come close to. That statistic is also an interesting find because it indicates that he's capable of handling a heavy workload. That should be a good thing for Horter since Indiana is a program that doesn't shy away from racing a lot and racing often.
Although Horter's prowess on the track is awe-inspiring, his cross country results are no different. The two-time NXN qualifier has run under the 15 minute barrier six different times in his high school career. Keep in mind that his PR of 14:36 was run on grass and dirt unlike some of the other top 5k times in the country which have been run on the track. Just like his performances on the track, Horter didn't just run fast. He was 30th at NXN during his junior year and improved upon that mark to earn a remarkable 6th place finish this past fall. If it's not already clear, he will be a huge addition to the Hoosiers as they look to fill in gaps in their top seven and make a run at qualifying for NCAA's.
As we stay within the state of Ohio, we turn to Arjun Jha, one of the few individuals capable of at least competing with Horter throughout their high school careers. Jha's 14:56 PR is complemented by an impressive 800 PR of 1:53 (and 4x8 split of 1:50) which makes him a useful addition to the Indiana roster. The state of Ohio has grown increasingly more competitive over the past few years and Jha is a heavy reason why. Unfortunately, he never secured a state title, but that's mainly because he's had to battle elites like Horter and Matt Scrape (among others) throughout his career.
The Hoosier coaching staff isn't afraid to enter their men in off-distance events or make them double. With a wide range of PR's including a 4:09 from this past season, Jha will be the perfect fit for Indiana's future plans.
The talent pool doesn't end with Horter and Jha. The Hoosiers were able to make a big in-state pickup with the addition of Matthew Schadler. With a 4:07 1600 PR, Schadler looks like another lethal recruit who (like Arjun Jha) has the range to compete in nearly any distance. An Indiana state title, a runner-up finish at New Balance Outdoor Nationals, and a Footlocker qualification prove that he is a national contender. Of course, he's not just a national contender. This guy is incredibly tough as well. Making Footlocker Nationals is one thing, but to place 26th after breaking your collarbone early in the race is wildly impressive. Something tells me he'll be able to handle whatever is thrown his way...
Earlier in our rankings, we talked about high school programs like Christian Brothers Academy and Northport. Those teams have incredible reputations when it comes to high school distance running and they are consistently ranked among the nation's best. Another team that should be in that conversation is Carmel High School in Indiana. This year, the high school powerhouse is sending five different runners from their high school to run for IU. Three of those five are from the boys team.
The Carmel trio of Keelan Grant, Ben Miller, and Colin Murphy will provide the Hoosiers with great depth in cross country. Each of these men bring valuable experience to Indiana after qualifying for NXN as a team this past fall. Their cross country success will surely be appreciated as the Hoosiers look to build a squad capable of reaching NCAA's for the first time since 2014.
Admittedly, some of their times don't jump off the page like they do for Horter, Jha, or Schadler. Still, these guys already have team chemistry and exposure to national championship meets. That, in and of itself, makes the Carmel boys a future problem for their BIG 10 rivals.
Of course, that's not to say that they can't be competitive on their own. All three of these recruits have earned Indiana state medals and have 5k PR's of 15:32 or faster. In fact, Ben Miller has two top three finishes in the 3200 at his state meet. He's certainly no pushover...
Let's briefly move into the mid-distances, an area that Indiana has been thriving in for the past few years. The recent success of Daniel Kuhn and Cooper Williams (who have both run 1:46) has made Bloomington an attractive area for talented half-milers such as Jalen Royal who has a 400/800 focus.
There may not have been a better time for Royal to enter the program. Kuhn and Williams are getting older and running out of eligibility. Luckily, they will still be around for another year or two to mentor Royal. The way their eligibility is structured should keep Indiana mid-distance running relevant as Royal develops and learns from his veteran teammates.
Illinois' Jacob Gebhardt is yet another key miler that could make some noise early-on in his collegiate career. Not only does he have a 4:14 PR, but he's had great success in Illinois despite facing numerous top-level talents such as Soren Knudsen and Clayton Mendez (who were in a different classification when it comes to state meets). Assuming Illinois medals eight spots deep, Gebhardt was a five-time state medalist who also earned runner-up honors twice during his career. It's safe to say that he may be one of the more underrated recruits of this class.
Indiana's final two rising-freshmen are familiar with each other when you consider that they are both in-state recruits and have raced each other seven different times.
Matthew Yoder is an Indiana recruit who still has a lot left in the tank. He was already a strong talent during his junior year, but he still improved quite a bit during his senior year and was able to find a spot on the Indiana roster. He has a high ceiling and is someone who could have a big role on this team with enough training and development.
Stidham is a 4:19/9:09 recruit who walked away with the Indiana state title in the 3200 this past spring after finishing 2nd in 2017. He has also earned two bronze medals at the Indiana state cross country championships in back-to-back years. Simply put, this guy is a fighter. If he can't win, he'll at least get you a top spot. He'll be a great guy to have at future conference meets when points are on the line.
When there are this many guys in one recruiting class, it's tough to fully appreciate just how talented they are. The Hoosiers will be getting the full package with these 10 men. Together, these recruits address gaps in the roster, provide immediate scoring opportunities, offer endless lineup options, and leave room to grow for the future.
Is this the beginning of a powerhouse program? Only time will tell, but it's certainly looking that way so far...