Richard Council was best known at Carrollton, Texas' Newman Smith H.S. for his ability catch the ball, but his future appears to be about breaking things up.
The 6-2, 180-pound athlete earned All-District honors for Coach Bobby Bounds' team as a wide receiver, catching 33 passes for 578 yards and six touchdowns last fall. In a high school football district that was primarily known for the run, Council was one of the few big-play specialists in the passing game.
"He was kind of our go-to, down the field kind of guy," said Bounds, whose team went 3-7 in the fall and ended a 15-game, two-year losing streak early on during the campaign.
At Indiana, though, Council is expected to arrive with defense on his mind. A starting free safety as a junior, Council moved to cornerback as a senior and caught the eye of IU Assistant Coach Bobby Johnson on film. He didn't have any interceptions against Newman Smith's run-oriented competition, but he did have 34 tackles and three tackles for loss last fall, and showed he had the tools to be an impact player in the secondary.
"He's rangy, and he's long armed and long legged," said Bounds. "He's probably a legit 4.5 guy, and he jumps well and changes direction. He's pretty tough, too. He's not afraid to throw his body in there."
All of those things sold the Hoosiers on Council, and Council was equally enamored with the IU program after making his official visit in mid-January. He knows that as the lone cornerback thus far in the '06 class he'll be looked at closely as soon as he arrives on campus next fall.
"I'll have a chance to play early when I get there," said Council.
That chance will be at cornerback, but Council wouldn't mind potentially jumping over to the other side of the line of scrimmage as well if the opportunity ever presents itself. He certainly has the credentials as a wide receiver, and if opportunity ever knocks, he says he'll be ready to answer.
"They've said once I get used to the system on defense, they're looking for me to maybe make some plays on offense as well," said Council. "I hope to play some offense, but if I can't, then corner will be just fine for me."
Council is one of two players to commit to the Hoosiers from the state of Texas, joining Lufkin's Mandela Roberts. The Lone Star State has re-emerged as a point of emphasis for Coach Terry Hoeppner's coaching staff, which had both Bobby Johnson and Gerald Brown working the state this year.
There's no disputing the talent level in the state, but sometimes it's a challenge to convince a player that he should venture north to the Big Ten to play in college. But when Council weighed offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Sam Houston State and San Diego State, he knew that the Big Ten provided him with his best opportunity.
"The distance doesn't really matter to me," said Council. "I just wanted to find somewhere that I was wanted, somewhere I could go and play, somewhere I could go and get a good education."
While Council was far from a household name in recruiting circles, Bounds is among those who thinks Indiana might have found a diamond in the rough. He didn't get a great deal of attention early because this was his first season at cornerback, and he's also always split his time between football, basketball and track and field.
Once he arrives at IU he'll full attention will be devoted to football, and once he does that Bounds expects him to blossom.
"He's never been through an off-season – he's always gone into basketball and then right into track, so he's never been in the weight lifting program," said Bounds. "So he'll fill in a little bit, he'll probably end up being a 200 pound kid, 6-2, 200, which will put him on par physically with the type of competition he'd be facing at Indiana."
SIGNING DAY 2006 - Richard Council
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