For most kids, college is a chance to leave home and start a new life without parents or family - a chance to learn a new city or town and try making it on their own. But quarterback Ben Chappell decided there was nothing wrong with staying close by.
The Bloomington native will be playing football three miles from his high school after the Bloomington South senior committed to play for Terry Hoeppner and the Indiana Hoosiers.
"I'm really excited about being in the Big Ten and being able to do that in my hometown," said Chappell. "That was always one of my goals growing up. I always watched the Big Ten games and I have always felt it's the best conference in the country.
"I think the quality of the conference is awesome. The next few years the conference is going to be outstanding and it's going to be a good experience for me. It's a goal of mine that I always wanted to reach and I'm going to soak it all in while I'm at Indiana."
The 6'2" Chappell was a two-year starter and received Hoeppner's seal of approval in his senior season at South. He earned first-team All-State honors while leading his team to a Conference Indiana championship and a 7-3 record. Chappell completed 165-of-282 passes for 2,359 yards and 27 touchdowns while also running for another seven touchdowns. Chappell feels his high school career will have him ready to make the same strides on the college level.
"Our high school offense is very similar to IU's offense and I think basically the only difference would be the terminology," said Chappell. "That's a plus for me that I got to play in that style and that really sets me up well. It's an offense that I like to run."
After committing to the Hoosiers in July as the second Hoosier commitment, Chappell had a chance to sit back and watch the other players being recruited by Hoeppner and his staff. There is little doubt he liked what he witnessed after Indiana got commitments from seven offensive linemen and no other quarterbacks.
"They told me all along that I would probably be the only quarterback in my class, but they were looking at some others," said Chappell. "They told me in the summer that I was the guy they wanted and they stuck by that. They said they only wanted one quarterback and that was a bonus for me.
"I was really excited to see all the linemen they were recruiting because that's where the game is won and lost. That's the most important position in the game and to get seven guys committed that big and athletic is really exciting to me. Those are the guys that are going to be in front of me for my entire career."
If it all went to plan those seven linemen should see decent playing time over the next few seasons, giving Chappell something to look forward to down the road.
"That would be huge for me to have an experienced offensive line late in my career and it's huge for the team because the more experience and competition you can get at every position the better," said Chappell. "Having a young line next season is a chance to get some guys a lot of good experience early and I only see that as a positive for what Coach Hoeppner is trying to do in the long run."
Knowing what his plans were for college took pressure off Chappell and allowed him to watch the Hoosiers from an angle not many recruits can.
"My goal was to make my decision before my senior year started and I was lucky enough to do that," said Chappell. "I was hoping that IU would do real well and I was happy the way to season went. I was watching as more of a fan this season than anything.
"I thought it was a real good first season for Coach Hoeppner. I know it's always tough when you get a new coaching staff and an entirely new offense. That takes a while to get used to. They got off to a real good start and they finished the season hard. I know their goal was to get to a bowl game and they didn't, but they made some strides during the Big Ten season."
SIGNING DAY 2006 - Ben Chappell
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