Rodger Saffold knows not only where he's going, but where he wants to end up as well.
The 6-5, 270-pound offensive tackle from Bedford, Ohio, verbally committed to Indiana on Wednesday, becoming the seventh offensive lineman – and the 14th overall - to commit to the Hoosiers for the 2006 class. Now that he's decided where he'll be spending the next four or five years, he's going to spend that period of time working toward some ambitious goals for his football future.
"I want to reach my potential, and then go a little farther than that," said Saffold, who picked IU over Illinois, West Virginia and Kansas. "I want to go to the next level. Coach (Bobby) Johnson has told me he'll work me up to that level. I'm just going to work as hard as I can for that."
Saffold has a couple of role models to try to emulate in that pursuit. Among the players to come out of Bedford H.S. are former Wisconsin Badgers Chris Chambers and Lee Evans, a pair of wideouts that have starred in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, respectively.
"I always looked up to them," said Saffold. "To see where they were at, that really got me thinking. That's when I buckled down and started working hard in the weight room and thinking about my future."
It's apparent that the Indiana coaching staff believes Saffold has the tools to be a special player at the collegiate level. In fact, Indiana was the first school to offer Saffold a scholarship, doing so shortly after the conclusion of his junior season at Bedford H.S.
After Saffold responded to some recruiting letters coming from the IU football department, Johnson requested player film on the two-way high school standout. Soon after reviewing Saffold's on-field skills, Johnson extended the scholarship offer.
"He liked that I finished my blocks, and he said that I have good footwork," said Saffold, whose father, Rodger, Sr., played at Iowa in the 1970s. "He also said I can regain my feet from a defeat really well, and they liked that."
Saffold liked Johnson for reasons beyond just what he can do to help him on the football field. He said the two built a solid relationship quickly, which was important throughout the recruiting process.
"I was a real cool person all the time," said Saffold. "He's someone I could call and he'd look out for me with recruiting. He kind of helped me through the recruiting when I was talking to other colleges."
Saffold's reasons for picking IU, though, extended beyond the football field. He said he plans to major in business, and the strength of IU's Kelley School of Business was a big thing in IU's favor.
"I liked their business program, and it wound up coming down to education," said Saffold.
Saffold made his official visit to IU Dec. 2, and also took an official to Illinois. But the strength of IU's business program, coupled with the opportunity he'd have to make an impact at IU, swung the recruiting pendulum in the Hoosiers' favor.
"I met a lot of players, and they were really good to me," said Saffold, who was hosted by Kyle Thomas. "I thought I could be comfortable down there for 4-5 years."
Saffold Talks About IU Commitment
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