Bloomington, Ind. – Three years of participating in IU's 7-on-7 team camp left a lasting impression on Hamilton Heights' standout Chad Sherer.
"I love it there," said Sherer, whose prep team has been to Bloomington in each of the past three seasons.
It was that love for the IU program and the opportunity stay close to home that swayed the 6-1, 195-pounder to join the Hoosiers' 2008 recruiting class. Sherer was one of the preps to commit earlier this week, joining a pair of offensive linemen - 6-6, 280-pound Marc Damisch from Buffalo Grove, Ill., and 6-2, 275-pound Will Matte from Wheaton, Ill.
Sherer has made a name for himself at the prep level as a tailback, but is expected to play defense when he gets to IU. Safety is a possibility, although the most likely scenario is a switch to outside linebacker.
"They recruited me as more of an athlete – I'm probably not a running back in college," said Sherer, who rushed for 1,280 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. "I've pretty much known my future was going to be on defense."
Sherer impressed the Hoosier defensive coaches during one-on-one work at IU's camp, which resulted in a scholarship offer. Soon afterwards he attended Purdue's camp, didn't get offered, and the decision became pretty clear for the in-state standout.
He also had an offer from Army while Illinois and Purdue remained interested, but Sherer didn't want to wait until after his senior season to make his decision. So when he spoke with his recruiting coach, Billy Lynch, earlier this week, he let him know his future would be in Bloomington.
That was big news to Lynch, who has been a big part of resurrecting IU's in-state recruiting efforts. Sherer said Lynch made it clear that in-state targets were a big part of building the Hoosier program into a consistent winner.
"Every time I talk to him, he's talking about how many in-state kids they're getting," Sherer said.
The commitments of Sherer, Damisch and Watte also give the Hoosiers six commitments since the passing of Terry Hoeppner. There were concerns from many that the loss of Hoeppner – and the uncertainty about Bill Lynch's future beyond this season – would have a big impact of the Hoosiers' 2008 recruiting class. But thus far, the IU staff has been able to put together a group of players that is well ahead of where IU was in the last couple of seasons at this point of the year.
Sherer said he was certainly saddened by the news of Hoeppner, but that didn't sway his desire to play in Bloomington.
"I kind of had a warning before hand," Sherer said. "I wasn't thinking Coach Hep was going to come back for a little bit. It didn't really change much for me. I know the program is still there and the expectations are still there."
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