With the 2006 class signed and rearing to go it is already time to start looking towards the class of 2007.
Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner has made a point to recruit in the state of Indiana and after two recruiting classes he has brought in 10 student-athletes from in-state. Now it is time to up the ante.
Indiana has a pair of four-star recruits in the class of 2007 according to Scout.com, both hailing from defending Class 5A state champion Warren Central in Indianapolis. Hoeppner will have a close eye on running back Darren Evans and big-play safety Jeremy Finch as two are already catching national attention.
"I've gotten mail from all over the nation," said the 6-1, 210-pound Evans, a top-three prospect in the state of Indiana. "But the schools that I've talked to are Louisville, IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Ole Miss.
"I have offers from IU and Louisville, but Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa all told me that offers were down the road for me."
Starting as a sophomore, Evans has led Warren Central to back-to-back state titles, which makes it three in a row for the school. Evans rushed for 2,245 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore en route to being named the EA Sports national sophomore player of the year. As an encore this past fall, he rushed for 2,178 yards on 9.7 yards per carry, and 39 touchdowns.
"It's kind of surprising to me because my sophomore year I never thought I would be a starter – let alone be getting attention nationally," said Evans. "I didn't know how good a season I had until people told me. I don't want to say I expected any of this, but I like the chance to meet so many coaches and see what schools have to offer. It's raising my confidence and I think that will help my game even more."
With so many schools clamoring to get his attention, Evans has already made a few unofficial visits and many schools are trying to get him in town for their junior day.
"I've been to Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Purdue. I made plans to go to Iowa and I'm making plans to go to Louisville and West Virginia.
"I'm giving myself a lot of options. Like whether or not I want to graduate early. (Seeing a lot of schools) gives me a better chance to decide where I want to go. So I can commit to a school and just get done with this recruiting process."
Growing up in Indiana Evans is exposed to a lot of top-tier programs and in the middle of Big Ten country. With so many quality schools close, geography is seemingly taking a role in Evan's early thought process.
"It doesn't really matter what conference I play in," said Evans. "At first I wanted to go farther South, but now really I would like to stay closer to home. With all the Big Ten teams close to Indiana, there is a possibility. But I do like Louisville and that's not a Big Ten school.
"I'm not sure if I want to leave the state. If a school in Indiana had everything I wanted and it came down to it and another out-of-state school, I would pick the closer school right now. But I'm not even close to a decision."
Along with location, Evans expects early playing time no matter where he goes.
"My goal of course is to play as early as I can and I believe I have the talent to do that," said Evans. "If a school is recruiting me I sure hope they believe that, too."
Hoeppner will have to compete hard just to get Evans' attention. With an early offer, Indiana hopes to keep on the junior's mind.
"I've met one of the (Indiana) assistants that came to my school," said Evans. "I was supposed to go down there for my junior day, but something came up and we didn't get to go. A couple weeks after that they sent a letter to my house and offered me. Other than that, I haven't really talked to their coaches."
Lucky for Indiana and every other school involved it is still early for Evans and he is not shutting the door on anyone just yet.
"I haven't eliminated anyone yet," said Evans. "I will start that, but I don't know when. I guess it all boils down to where I can get a good education and be able to play. I'm not going anywhere that I would be a first-year starter as a senior. I want to come in and play a lot. It's going to come down to my education and how much playing time I can get.
"When I find school that I really like and I think it's in my best interest then I will commit early. I don't have any deadlines set for myself."
Hoosiers In The Running For Evans
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