SIGNING DAY 2006 - Pete Saxon

Without a winning season in more than a decade, recruiting can be a tough sell. With no success stories or bowl game memories to entice players, Terry Hoeppner was looking for just the right type of players for his second season as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers.

Without a winning season in more than a decade, recruiting can be a tough sell. With no success stories or bowl game memories to entice players, Terry Hoeppner was looking for just the right type of players for his second season as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers.

He needed players with the will to work, the forward thinking to sign on to be in a program looking towards the future and the toughness to be an underdog in one of the nation's top football conferences. More importantly, he needed someone to protect his quarterbacks.

Pete Saxon has been there, done that.

"I'm from a high school where my freshman year we won the very first playoff game our school has ever played," said offensive lineman Pete Saxon. "Since then we've been in the playoffs ever year I have been here and we made it as far as the regional finals. I think we've won five or six playoff games as a program that came up from nothing to something. I can't wait to be a part of the rebuilding process at Indiana where they're struggling and now have a new coach. We're going to turn it around, I just know it."

Saxon, a 6'6", 310-pound lineman from Plain City, Ohio, was Hoeppner's first commitment in his first full recruiting class. After pledging over the summer, Saxon sat back as Hoeppner recruited six more offensive linemen.

"I think it's great to have so many linemen coming in," said Saxon. "I think this group is going to come in and be very competitive. I'm not worried about coming in and starting. I think it's more important for us to get to know each other. The best part of being on the offensive line at my school was the fact we were like the tightest family you could have. I can't wait to get another one with this class of guys."

After committing in mid-June Saxon became an instant Indiana fan. Watching the Hoosiers play got him even more excited for the future of Indiana football.

"I watched every single game IU played this season," said Saxon. "I think Blake Powers is a great quarterback, but he's young and has things he needs to work on but with Coach Hoeppner behind the wheel he's going to show Blake how to take it to a whole other level. I think if we can give him time as an offensive line and provide him what he needs to use the qualities he has, he's going to be an outstanding quarterback, and we'll have an outstanding offense and an outstanding team.

"I think we have a great opportunity as a young offense to grow together and show people Hoosier football is still alive. It's going to make us a tough team to play when it comes to our senior season and everyone has experience."

Saxon was recruited by defensive line coach Brian George, but he is more excited to be playing for a different Indiana coach.

"I love (offensive line) Coach (Bobby) Johnson," said Saxon. "He's really excited about the offensive line and he's a great guy. He's smart, he knows what he's talking about and he's been there. He's an offensive line guy. He's everything you could want in an offensive line coach and I think despite the fact that I don't know him all that well right now, we're going to become pretty good friends and I can't wait."

While playing high school in the State of Ohio, Saxon grew up in the heart of Big Ten country. Given the chance to play for a Big Ten team was something he could never pass up.

"It's pretty exciting to be playing for IU and in the Big Ten," said Saxon. "I was born in Indiana and I've always been a Big Ten fan. I grew up watching Michigan and Indiana. I would say I was always a hardcore Michigan fan, but it's always been a dream to not only play in the Big Ten, but play against all the other Big Ten schools."


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