Last weekend's official visit was a good one for cornerback Chris Rucker, and subsequently, for IU Coach Terry Hoeppner's program as well.
That's because the 6-1, 185-pounder from Warren (Ohio) Harding H.S. has elevated the Hoosiers' to the top spot on his list of potential college destinations.
"Indiana is No. 1," Rucker said Monday night. "The visit was really good. I got to see what college life was like, hang around with the players, see what they do for fun. I spent time with the coaches. It was a great visit. I really liked it."
More than anything else, Rucker said it was the players that stood out during his weekend trip to Bloomington. Rucker, who was hosted by IU freshman Ray Fisher, was one of 10 players in town for officials over the weekend.
"I really like their players," Rucker said. "They were all real."
Rucker was a two-way standout this year as a cornerback and wide receiver for Warren Harding, helping them to a 9-4 record and an appearance in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. He's just one of a handful of Division I recruits on the team, along with Ohio State-bound tailback Daniel Herron, IU commit Sidney Glover (safety), and Toledo commit Marlin Parker (defensive end).
While Indiana appears to be in very good shape with Rucker, he still has two other programs he's considering. He'll make an official visit to Michigan State this weekend, and then heads to Kentucky the following weekend to visit the Wildcat program.
But it's Indiana that leads at this point, and Rucker thinks the Hoosier program is going in a positive direction.
"Coach Hep is a really good guy, and I think he's turning the program around for the better," Rucker said. "I'm happy he's going to be there for awhile."
Just before the recruits arrived for their weekend visit, Hoeppner signed a two-year contract extension, which will keep him in Bloomington through 2011.
Rucker also sees an opportunity to help the Hoosiers take the next step. Cornerback remains a top priority with the Hoosiers' remaining scholarships for the '07 class, and Rucker appears to be right at the top of the Hoosiers' wish list at the position.
"(Cornerbacks coach Joe Palcic) said if I came there I'd have a chance to play early," Rucker said. "He says they're a good program that's going to win games. They're up and coming, a young team that's getting better."
Rucker also has a couple of other things pulling him toward Indiana. His cousin is former IU defensive lineman John Lumpkin, who still lives in Bloomington. In addition, his high school teammate, Sidney Glover, has already verballed to the Hoosier program. Glover wasn't in Bloomington for his official visit last weekend as was initially reported, but Rucker said he thinks Glover will be in town this weekend.
Rucker said the duo has an interest in playing together in college.
"He wants to continue to play together, because we've been playing together so long – it's seems like forever," Rucker said.
Hoosier Program a Hit For Rucker
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