If there's one thing that the Faulkner family knows, it's how much times have changed when it comes to college football recruiting.
For 6'5", 305-pound Cody Faulkner from Hamilton Height H.S. in Cicero, Ind., the off-season has included summer camp stops at Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama and Florida, among others. One of the top players in the state, he's parlayed his camp trips and stops at junior days into scholarship offers from Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ball State, Northwestern and Wyoming to date.
"It's given me a chance to meet different coaches and learn different techniques," said Faulkner, a first-team All-State pick as a junior. "It will also help me be more well-rounded for whatever school I go to, because I've been exposed to a lot of different things."
Cody's recruitment has been as different as night and day compared to his father, Chris, who was a tight end at Florida in the early 1980s before being a fourth-round NFL draft pick and spending two years in the pro ranks with the Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers.
"He had no recruiting," said Cody about his father. "He's amazed at how different it is now.
"He sent out 8mm film of him that he and his dad cut up and scotch taped together. They sent it to a couple of different schools, and then got scholarship offers from that. There weren't junior days or combines or anything like that."
Despite the changes in the recruiting game, Cody said his father has been a tremendous resource as he surveys his options for the next level.
"Since he's played college football, he can help me out a great deal," said Faulkner. "The recruiting process is a little new to him, but he knows a lot about the sport and he can help me in a lot of different ways in preparing for combines and working out for coaches."
He can also help in making sure that his son doesn't rush to judgment when considering his options. With six scholarship offers already in hand, there remains the distinct possibility that number could grow in the coming weeks and months. Because of that, Faulkner said he doesn't expect to announce his intentions anytime soon.
"I'm probably going to wait until after the season to decide," said Faulkner. "I don't want to rush into anything. I'll play out my senior season and then afterwards I'll make my choice."
Two schools that will likely figure prominently into Faulkner's decision are a pair of Big Ten schools – Indiana and Wisconsin. Wisconsin signed Hamilton Heights H.S. quarterback Dustin Sherer a year ago and has a tradition of developing top-flight offensive linemen. Sherer and Faulkner anchored a Hamilton Heights offense that piled up nearly 2,500 yards through the air and 30 touchdowns on its way to a deep run the state playoffs.
"It would be neat to be able to play with him, but that's not going to really affect my overall decision," said Faulkner. "I don't want to go somewhere because of one person. I want to go wherever is best for me.
"If Wisconsin ends up being the best choice for me, so be it. But if Wisconsin isn't, and let's say, Indiana is, then I'd rather go to Indiana."
Indiana, meanwhile, impressed Faulkner during his stop in Bloomington for IU's summer team camp. As one of ten teams in Bloomington for the event, Faulkner was surprised at how well the Bloomington event was put together by the IU staff.
"Their camp was the best run camp that I've attended," said Faulkner. "We were able to do inside runs against different teams, do 7-on-7, and even get some 11-of-11 going. From that perspective, they tried to make it like our spring ball, which we don't really have. So that was great."
It's more than the IU camp, though, that has impressed Faulkner about the Hoosier program. He is well aware of what first-year Hoosier coach Terry Hoeppner did while he was the head coach at Miami (Ohio), and thinks that a much brighter future is ahead for Hoosier fans.
"Coach Hep is going to do a great job in turning that program around," said Faulkner. "In a couple of years, I see them competing for a bowl. I see them coming up and being a lot better real soon."
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