Indiana's football recruiting class got a whole lot bigger this week with verbal commitments from two talented offensive linemen from the Midwest.
IU Coach Terry Hoeppner received word this week that both Morris, Ill., lineman Alex Perry and Platteville, Wis., standout Mike Stark will be joining the team next fall.
The 6-7, 282-pound Stark is the latest – as well as the biggest – commitment to date for Hoeppner's staff. Stark informed the staff of his decision yesterday, giving the Hoosiers seven verbal commitments in the 2006 class, including four offensive linemen.
That emphasis on the offensive line was a big selling point for Stark, who said he had been waiting to see if the homestate Badgers would offer before pulling the trigger and committing to IU.
"They said they were probably going to take about seven (offensive linemen), which tells me they are really emphasizing the heart of the offense, which is the offensive line," said Stark.
Perry and Stark join Plain City, Ohio's Pete Saxon (6-6, 310) and Fairborn, Ohio's Jarrod Smith (6-4, 278) in a recruiting class that was expected to emphasize the offensive line. Not only will IU lose projected 2005 starters Isaac Sowells, Brandon Hatcher and Adam Hines this season, but it didn't sign any offensive linemen in the 2005 recruiting class in February.
While Stark said he'll likely redshirt next season, he sees that there will be an opportunity to play early in an IU uniform.
"I talked with Coach (Bobby) Johnson, their offensive line coach, and Coach Hep, and they talked about me playing tackle," said Stark. "They said I'd probably redshirt as a freshman, and then be able to play because they have a couple of juniors and seniors that will be leaving, so hopefully I can play quickly once I get there."
While Stark didn't participate in any of IU's summer camps, he did make an unofficial visit to Bloomington and had a chance to tour the campus as well as meet with the coaches. He said he was impressed with the IU facilities as well as the campus during that summer trip.
Stark said he had originally intended to put his decision on hold until his senior season got underway, but he didn't want to wait too long and possibly miss out on an opportunity to play at IU.
"I think they were starting to fill up, and I felt good about it, so I went ahead and committed. It's a relief to have it done," said Stark.
"I think their program is on the up, and in the future they are going to be good. I like their coaching staff and where they are headed and what they can do in the future."
IU Football Gets A Pair Of Commitments
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