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17-year-old Jaylin Lucas is the team’s fastest player, ready to face the field – The Daily Hoosier

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After his attack yielded just 11 points per game in the final eight weeks of the 2021 season, Tom Allen knew he needed a spark.

A few months earlier, he’d seen Jaylin Lucas at a camp and it was love at first sight for the IU coaching staff.

“He’s a guy that we actually ran into when we were doing our off-campus camps in the south, and saw him live in person, and right away I was like, ‘Wow, this is the kind of guy we were looking for,’” Allen said via Zoom on Tuesday.

What Allen saw that day probably looked a lot like this video Lucas pinned to the top of his Twitter profile:

At 1.75 meters tall, Lucas didn’t impress anyone with his size, but Tulane’s then commitment certainly impressed with his physical abilities.

As impressive as he looks on film, Allen says seeing what Lucas was able to do in person that day really stood out. The superlatives of a football coach over 30 years old make you pause.

“Just the cramp, the burst, the acceleration to go from zero to full speed, as fast as anyone I’ve experienced as a coach, and then just catch a guy who has the complete package of a guy with good ball skills , is a good running back, and just speed,” Allen said.

And everything IU thought he was getting in the speed department, Lucas has delivered since arriving on campus.

“He’s not just fast, he’s fast,” Allen said.

How fast?

“He is our fastest player.”

That’s especially noteworthy given that Lucas won’t turn 18 until IU is four games into the 2022 season. But don’t expect his age to stop him from seeing the field as a true freshman.

“He’s a very young boy. He’s still 17 years old,” IU Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell said on Tuesday. “But he’s really come a long way in preparing from a maturity standpoint in his approach to the game.

“On the pitch he is incredibly explosive. He’s a man who can win in a 5-by-5 ​​box, the first man won’t get him down much. He’s had some really good explosive moves in the first five or six days of fall camp.”

How much Lucas plays as a freshman remains to be seen, but Indiana’s message to him as a recruit was that they wanted to use him as a running back, final receiver, and on special teams as well.

Basically, just find ways to get Lucas to get the ball into the open field and let it go.

“Just being the world’s most dangerous man, just being an athlete all over the field,” is how Lucas described IU’s plan for him after he disbanded Tulane and announced his alliance with the Hoosiers in December.

Originally from Houma, Louisiana, Lucas is already used to adapting quickly and making an early impact.

After his family was displaced by Hurricane Ida, Lucas moved to New Orleans and played his final season at Edna Karr High School.

There, the all-purpose back was an all-state first team squad after racking up a total of 1,883 all-purpose yards with 958 rushing, 705 receiving, 135 kick returns, and 85 via point returns.

After IU Whop Philyor lost to eligibility after the 2020 season, and DJ Matthews got injured last year, they really didn’t have anyone who could make a groundbreaking impact in the open field. That made their push to turn Lucas’ commitment all the more important.

Now it looks like the payout will come straight out of the gates.

Lucas joined the program in January, just a few weeks after signing, and that extra time with Bell and the staff has ensured that the dynamic young defender will indeed play this fall.

“Speed ​​is speed, even if it is young speed. I see him as a guy we expect to play as freshmen,” Allen said.


The Daily HoosierWhere Indiana fans gather when not at Assembly

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