Hoosiers choosing to stay in-state

Jacob Robinson, Tommy Stevens and Joe Belden are Indiana kids who have chosen to stay in-state to play football for Indiana. Now, they want to help recruit others to come play with them, too.

Tommy Stevens first met Joe Belden in the sixth grade when he played on a travel football team in Avon. It was the Avon Junior Orioles.

Belden first met Jacob Robinson last February at the IU-Michigan basketball game when the pair were at IU for Junior Day.

Now, the three talk and text regularly.

A year from now, they'll be preparing for their freshmen football seasons at Indiana University where they plan to play for IU coach Kevin Wilson.

All three are 3-star recruits by Scout.com and they make up exactly one half of Indiana's current six-man recruiting class. Stevens is a quarterback from Decatur Central in Indianapolis. Belden and Robinson are defensive ends from Avon and Westfield, respectively.

One thing they all share is an excitement for being high school Hoosiers who will one day be college Hoosiers, too.

"You look at programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State for example and all of them do a good job of locking down their state and keeping the best players at home,'' Stevens said. "We think Indiana should be the same way. Hopefully we can get a lot of the top Indiana kids to join us and make this something really special for Hoosiers at IU.''

Belden said playing at Indiana at the next level was very important for him. He made it official when he committed to the Hoosiers last Wednesday.

"I think it's a pride thing,'' Belden said. "It's definitely that way in high school when you're from a certain community and you're then a product or an extension of that town. I think college should be the same way. I'm an Indiana kid and there's nothing I'd rather do than play football at Indiana.''

Robinson said the next step is to become basically a recruiter for Indiana when he talks to other players in the state.

"Every time I talk to another player at a camp or wherever I am I tell them about playing at Indiana,'' said Robinson, who committed to the Hoosiers on May 9. "We want to help build this thing and one way to do that is to fill our roster with the best players from the state of Indiana.''

In the 2014 class, there were five players were IU roots. The number was the same in 2013 and in 2012 there were eight.

Stevens said the hope is to build on the three that have committed to this point.

"I feel like I'm becoming kind of a recruiter,'' Stevens said. "I talk to guys all the time. We want to help make Indiana football a destination for the best of Indiana.''

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