Alex Perry knew he was faced with a good news/bad news situation after deciding he wanted to play his college football for Coach Terry Hoeppner's Hoosier program.
The good news was that after a couple of trips to Bloomington and numerous conversations with the IU coaching staff, he knew Bloomington was where he wanted to spend the next four or five years. The bad news was he had to place some tough phone calls to other college coaches who had been in pursuit of the 6-7, 251-pound offensive lineman from Morris, Ill.
"The toughest part is having to tell schools that have offered you full ride scholarships ‘thanks but no thanks,'" said Perry, who committed to IU last week. "(Last week) I called some coaches and told them that, and it was really tough to do because I really liked a lot of the coaches that I was involved with.
"But Indiana just really had too many positives."
Among the schools that Perry had to call were Akron, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan, all of whom had already extended scholarship offers. In addition, Northwestern had been showing plenty of interest as well, and Coach Randy Walker's staff was waiting to see Perry's first couple of games this fall before deciding whether to extend a scholarship offer as well.
While Northwestern wanted to wait, Perry didn't.
"All along, I wanted to do it before the season," said Perry. "The only way I was going to do that, though, was if I really liked my options, and Indiana was definitely a school that showed a lot of interest. After visiting there a couple of times, I was very impressed. I felt at home with the coaches and the town."
Part of turning the IU program around will be re-stocking the offensive line position with the 2006 recruiting class. Perry is one of four offensive linemen who has already pledged to the Hoosiers, along with Ohio's Pete Saxon (6-6, 310), Ohio's Jarrod Smith (6-4, 278) and Wisconsin's Mike Stark (6-7, 282). In addition, the Hoosiers are awaiting word this week from Notre Dame transfer Chauncey Incarnato, a 6-5, 275-pound tackle who appears to be favoring the Hoosiers as well.
"They want to build their team around the offensive line, and then go out and get skill position players after that," said Perry.
While Morris, Ill., is a town of just under 12,000 located about an hour southwest of Chicago, the high school program is no stranger to producing Division I football talent. Under long-time Morris Coach Dan Darlington, Morris High School compiled a 264-55 over the last 28 years, including a runner-up finish in last year's Class 5A playoffs. Last year's team included three Division I recruits, including Northwestern freshman offensive lineman Ramon Diaz and Ball State quarterback Zach Jones. In addition to Perry, this year's Morris squad also features 6-7, 255-pound defensive end Jamie Cumby, Scout.com's sixth-ranked defensive end nationally who has already verballed to Clemson.
A pair of trips to Bloomington went a long way in convincing Perry that Bloomington is where he belonged. He first visited the city in April for the Hoosiers' spring game, and then came back in July along with his parents to visit the campus and to talk with IU offensive line coach Bobby Johnson.
Johnson told Perry that he liked his athleticism as well as his size after evaluating him on tape, and that the IU staff wanted him to be a part of turning the program around. That vision that Hoeppner's staff has brought with it from Miami (Ohio) to Bloomington was a big selling point for Perry.
"I really believe they are going to turn that program around, and I want to be a part of that," said Perry.
Perry Pleased With IU Pledge
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