Hoeppner Wants To Lure Floridians North

January is a popular time of year for Bloomingtonians to escape the Midwest's winter and head to the warm weather of Florida, but IU Coach Terry Hoeppner has just the opposite in mind.

January is a popular time of year for Bloomingtonians to escape the Midwest's winter and head to the warm weather of Florida, but IU Coach Terry Hoeppner has just the opposite in mind.

Next month figures to be an important one for the IU football program as it welcomes in a handful of Florida preps for official visits to town. One of the top Sunshine State targets that Indiana would like to bring in is Culmer St. Jean, a 6-1, 215-pound linebacker/safety from Lely H.S. in Naples, Fla.

St. Jean has already taken officials to Wisconsin (Dec. 16), West Virginia (Dec. 9) and Minnesota (Dec. 2), but anticipates continuing his trips next month.

"I think I'm going to take one or two more," said St. Jean. "I'm not sure if I'll take both of the last two or just one more."

Whether it's one January visit or two, Hoeppner is hoping St. Jean opts to make a visit to Bloomington to see what the Hoosiers have to offer. St. Jean said it remains it's a possibility that he'll visit the IU campus next month, although nothing is set in stone.

"I am considering visiting there," said St. Jean. "They've shown a lot of interest. There's a possibility of visiting there because they are a program on the rise. They've been down for the last few years, but after the performance they showed this year, you can see they have a lot of potential."

To take the next step, Hoeppner and his staff know they need to add more playmakers on both sides of the ball, and St. Jean falls into that category. St. Jean threw for 1,000 yards and rushed for another 200 while playing quarterback for his prep team this past fall and is being recruited by some programs to play safety, but Indiana likes his speed and athleticism at linebacker.

It's a position of need for the Hoosiers, one where Indiana will likely try to get at least 1-2 more commitments for its 2006 class. Indiana loses three either full or part-time starters in Josh Moore, John Pannozzo and Kyle Killion, and it has verbals thus far from Indianapolis' Will Patterson and Chicago area standout Matt Mayberry.

Indiana has offered St. Jean, and has visions of him joining the previous commits in Bloomington. St. Jean said Indiana is trying to lure him with the idea that he can help the Hoosiers make a turnaround and once again be a postseason caliber team.

"They pretty much try to sell me on the improvement they are making and being a part of bringing them back to their winning ways," said St. Jean.

It appears if the Hoosiers can get St. Jean on campus, though, they'll have some recruiting ground to make up. St. Jean said he's been very impressed with each of his first three stops.

"I've liked the atmosphere at all three," said St. Jean. "Morgantown (West Virginia) was a real small town and I liked that. They don't have a pro team there, and everything is about the Mountaineers. I like the Twin Cities (Minnesota) also, and with Wisconsin, I liked it overall and their tradition."

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