Growing up in the heart of Big Ten country is the only thing narrowing the list for Merrillville, Ind., defensive tackle Dexter Larimore. The 6'3", 265-pound defensive tackle has all but ruled out every other conference, but is still listening to any school in the Big Ten.
"I love Big Ten football," said Larimore, who is also a standout heavyweight wrestler. "I think it's the toughest conference in the nation because week after week you play against a good team. Every team is a good team and there are always a few Big Ten teams ranked in the nation.
"I grew up close to a lot of Big Ten schools, so I watched them all on TV. I've always known if I was going to play college football, I wanted to play in the Big Ten. There is so much tradition in the conference and I want to be a part of it."
Larimore spent the early portion of his summer going to just about every Big Ten school he could get an invite to and visited Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.
"I used to say I had three favorites," said Larimore. "But after going to all those camps and getting a chance to meet all the coaches, see all the facilities and see the campuses, you see how every school in the Big Ten is just phenomenal. My brother plays for Ball State and I've gone to visit him before. But after going to the Big Ten schools you can just see the difference. There is so much more tradition and it's pretty much better than every other conference in the nation."
Larimore stopped in Bloomington early in the summer to attend a camp at Indiana and walked away with a scholarship offer. Since then Indiana, has remained near the top of Larimore's list for a number of reasons.
"I really liked the coaching staff at IU," said Larimore. "They're really nice to everyone and they're just quality people to be around.
"I'm probably going to major in business. That's why IU is appealing. They have the Kelley School of Business, which is one of the best in the nation. What I'm going to learn in school is just as important to me because I might never play football again after college, but I'm always going to need a job."
Larimore is considered a top recruit on the defensive side of the ball, but could also wind up on the offensive line as well. Another option could be wrestling, as Larimore has compiled a 90-5 record during the last two seasons in the 275-pound weight class and has finished as the state runner-up each year.
But Larimore's preference certainly appears to play football, and on the defensive side.
"I'm going to keep the option open I guess," said Larimore. "If I ever get injured or lose a step I know I could switch to the offensive side. I just think I'm fast enough for defense and I like being a stopper.
"I want to play on the defensive side because I think that's where I'm better suited. I'm fast enough to play on defense and my mentality is a defensive mentality. I love to get after the quarterback and stop the run at the line."
Right now Larimore is playing both sides of the ball for his high school team, the Merrillville Pirates.
"I play on the offensive side right now to help my team," said Larimore. "I'm only doing it because my team needs me to so we can win. It's all about winning and the team to me, but in college I would like to focus on defense. A few schools had me work out in the offense because they said I could be used to trap or pull because of my speed."
Larimore added that Indiana had him show his skills on both sides of the ball while he was in Bloomington.
"Coach (Terry) Hoeppner loved me on defense and co-defensive coordinator (Brian George) loved me on defense, but they had me run some plays in the offense, too. They just wanted to know if something happened I could play offense. Some defensive guys just can't play offense. It's natural to me because I have been playing it my whole life. I think it adds versatility to my game and coaches like that."
Larimore is not exactly in a hurry to make a commitment, and said he would like wait until the season starts to see if his early season play will garner him any more offers.
"I haven't gotten any offers recently," said Larimore. "But a few of the bigger Big Ten schools told me to send them a couple of my tapes from the beginning of this season. I'd like to make my decision before the season, but I'll probably wait at least one or two games into the season to even narrow my list down."
While he does not know where he wants to play just yet, Larimore does know what he is looking for in his future team.
"Right now I'm looking at all the schools in the Big Ten and asking myself, ‘Can I see myself playing there? Do I like the coaches enough to where I want to win for them?' I always want to win for myself, but I'm looking for a place where it almost feels like a family. I want to play at a school where I know the guy next to me is going to play as hard as I'm going to every down."
Indiana DT Keeping Options Open
Peegs.com Top Stories
Kevin Wilson Radio Show recapKevin Wilson had his weekly radio show tonight and Peegs.com has a recap of what the IU head coach talked about.
Following the Future: IU commits in actionPeegs.com recaps how each member of the 2017 Indiana recruiting class performed in their most recent game, and what is next on the schedule for every Hoosier commit.
Video intro: McRoberts not your usual walk-onAs a former Division I scholarship player and younger brother of a long-time NBA veteran, Zach McRoberts may be ready to help more than your typical walk-on
Video intro: Sophomore walk-on Quentin TaylorIndiana sophomore walk-on Quentin Taylor compares this Indiana team to last year's Big Ten champions and looks ahead to his future after his IU career.