Bloomington, Ind. – When Matt Ernest went down with a broken collarbone in the first quarter of the first game of his junior season, he knew it was going to have an impact on more than just Crown Point's season.
The 6-2, 180-pound wide receiver also knew it could have a potentially crippling effect on his recruitment as well. With most college programs making decisions on who they are going to recruit based on junior season performances, Ernest wouldn't have much of anything to point to from the 2006 season.
"I was nervous about what would happen in recruiting, but also curious to see how it affected me," Ernest said. "I didn't get as much love or show because schools couldn't see me play as a junior."
One school that didn't back off, though, was Indiana. Led by the work of assistant coaches Bill and Billy Lynch, the Hoosiers were one of the first to extend a scholarship offer, and they were rewarded Thursday with a verbal commitment.
"They knew I was hurt my junior year, and they still had confidence in me," Ernest said. "I think it's a perfect fit for me."
Ernest is the fourth player to pledge to the Hoosiers for the '07 class, joining running back Zach Walker, linebacker Dane Conwell and safety Sidney Glover. After returning to the team for its state playoff run Ernest caught 18 passes for 384 yards, while came on the heels of a sophomore season when he caught 47 passes for 1,050 yards.
He said he talked to the coaching staffs at Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue before deciding this week that IU was where he wanted to play his college football.
The Indiana staff, meanwhile, had an opportunity to see Ernest play extensively this summer. His Crown Point H.S. team made the trip to Bloomington to compete in Indiana's team camp, a four-day event that gave the IU staff an opportunity to see what he could do in an IU uniform.
"That was really big," Ernest said. "I've been to one-day camps, and you don't have nearly as much one-on-one time with the coaches. There was more opportunities for them to see me play over a couple of days."
Indiana liked what it saw, and Ernest obviously liked what he witnessed from the IU staff as well as from the city of Bloomington. That enabled him to make a decision he'd hoped to have done before his senior season arrived.
"It's huge to have this out of the way," Ernest said. "This is what I wanted – to get it done before my senior season."
Ernest Talks About IU Pledge
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