Ball State Cleaning Up in Indiana

Ball State’s commitment to the Hoosier State is paying dividends on the recruiting trail

When Pete Lembo was named the new Ball State head football coach back in December of 2010, he made it a point to talk about making inroads in the Cardinals’ home state being a top priority. That commitment to the high school programs in Indiana has paid major dividends for the Cardinals, who have continued to gain commitments from in state including 6 already this year.

Starting off with the initial Lembo era class of 2011 (albeit a class largely recruited by predecessor Stan Parrish) it looked as though the commitment to Indiana was not going to happen. Only 3 players from Indiana appeared in that initial class (all from Columbus schools) and champions of Indiana High School Football spoke openly about how unsure they were that an east coast guy, from a school in the southeast, would even want to recruit the home grown talent.

The number of recruits rose the next class to 5 but things backslid in 2013, when the Cardinals inked just 3 Hoosiers, which was far fewer than even the number of North Carolina preps (6) that were included in the class. Again, the critics began to talk …

Following off of that 2013 backslide though, Lembo and staff made its biggest splash recruiting in Indiana in 2014 with 6 players added to the list. That was followed by last season, when the Cardinals gained commitment from Indiana kids even more and landed 9 players from Indiana.

Enter the 2016 class, it is still very early in the recruiting cycle, but Lembo and staff has already gained verbal commitments from 6 of the top players in the state including 4 from the Indianapolis metropolitan area, a spot rich in talent that often goes under recruited.

Also of importance to the recruiting of Indiana, is that the staff is again focusing in on home grown talent. Last season, the Cardinals signed possibly the best QB in the state in Yorktown’s Riley Neal. Yorktown just happens to be basically a suburb of Muncie. This year, the Cardinals have gained commitments from Anthony Todd, a beast of a 6-5 305 OT from Yorktown as well as 6-5 265 OT Kaleb Slaven from Delta High School on the northern edge of Muncie.

What many questioned could be done by Lembo and his staff has not only come true but has also yielded great dividends for the Ball State football program. The Cardinals continue to mine the Hoosier state for talent and pull in top of the line players in the process, while making sure that the prep coaches and players of the state know that Ball State is a program to pay attention to.


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