Crown Point (Ind.) H.S. offensive lineman Kurt Wermers left the Bloomington campus two weeks ago knowing just how important he was to the IU staff.
That's because the 6-5, 260-pounder departed IU's Junior Day with a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers, one of just a handful of players who have already been offered by Coach Terry Hoeppner's staff early for the 2008 class.
"I think the thing that excited Kurt wasn't just getting the offer, but to feel he is a priority for them," said Crown Point H.S. Coach Chip Pettit.
It's easy to see why the Hoosiers have Wermers in their recruiting cross-hairs. He's a two-year starter for Pettit's team, starting at tackle as a sophomore before moving to guard before his junior season and helping Crown Point to an undefeated regular season and a No. 1 ranking in the state this past fall. Pettit believes he's versatile enough to play either position at the next level.
Wermers combines excellent size with athleticism and plenty of room for growth and development as well.
"He's the athletic type of lineman that everyone is looking for," Pettit said. "He's an exceptional physical talent. He has some work to do in the weight room and with his technique, but you can't coach size and the footwork that he's got. So from that respect, it's no surprise he's a very sought-after player."
Indiana isn't the only program who's taken notice. Northwestern has also offered Wermers, while Wisconsin and Michigan told him they were close to offering during his recent trips to their respective junior days. The Crown Point lineman is also drawing interest from Ball State and is expected to be at Purdue this weekend for their Junior Day.
While each of those programs have witnessed Wermers' productivity during his two years starting at Crown Point, they're also well aware of the fact he has a chance to get much bigger and better as he continues to mature over the next several years.
"Sometimes when kids mature early, you wonder how much stronger or more physical they can get," Pettit said. "But I think Kurt has a ways to go. Kurt is not someone who has matured early, and I think that's what will make him such an attractive recruit – I don't think he's even begun to reach his potential."
Indiana's recruiting efforts are being led by Assistant Head Coach Bill Lynch, who was able to lure Crown Point wide receiver Matt Ernest to Bloomington during the 2007 recruiting season. Lynch had a chance to observe Wermers not only while he was recruiting Ernest last fall, but also when Pettit brought his team to Bloomington during each of the past two summers for IU's team camp.
Wermers left a lasting impression on Lynch, and Pettit said the IU assistant has made it clear that his standout is a top priority for the Hoosier staff.
"We really have a lot of respect for Coach Lynch and how he operates," Pettit said. "He's doing a great job recruiting him. I would say they are recruiting him as hard, if not harder, than anyone else."
But the interest from other programs, including a handful of Big Ten counterparts, figures to heat up as well as the spring and summer months arrive.
"I think at this point, Kurt is just kind of taking it all in and allowing people to recruit him a little bit," Pettit said. "As with anything, kids want to go somewhere that they feel like they are a priority. I think you get that feeling as the recruiting process plays out."
While Wermers might still be looking at his various options, it's unlikely he'll wait until the very end to make his decision. Ernest was one of the first players to commit in the '07 class when he pledged in July, and Wermers has also suggested he doesn't want to allow his decision to drag on too long.
"I know Kurt has expressed an interest in getting it done sometime before the start of his senior season, and I'd encourage that if he feels he's certain what he wants to do," Pettit said.
Hoosiers Offer Crown Point's Wermers
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