Football To Welcome Handful of Visitors

The month of December is huge from football official visits, and Indiana will get things underway this weekend with a handful of visitors...

Bloomington, Ind. – Consider this weekend to be the calm before the storm.

While some things are different about December this year than recent seasons – most notably the Hoosiers' preparation for a bowl game – it is also month that's huge when it comes to recruiting.

Indiana will get a big month of official visits underway this weekend, starting with a handful of players who have already verbally committed to play at IU. Then, the weekends of Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 figure to feature many of the uncommitted players that Coach Bill Lynch's staff has targeted for its remaining scholarships.

While the number of scholarships available is fluid, IU figures to sign anywhere from 19-21 players in February, leaving 4-6 scholarships open if all 15 of the current verbals do wind up in Bloomington.

This weekend's visitors will include around five of those previously committed players. Among the expected visitors are: 6-2, 280-pound Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) H.S. defensive tackle Nick Sliger; 6-0, 181-pound Milwaukee (Wis.) Riverside H.S. running back/athlete Shane Covington; 6-2, 265-pound Warrensville (Ill.) South H.S. offensive lineman Will Matte; 6-3, 300-pound Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen H.S. defensive tackle A.J. Thompson; and 6-6, 275-pound Buffalo Grove (Ill.) H.S. offensive lineman Marc Damisch.

Sliger and Matte, in particular, are coming off successful senior seasons. Matte's Warrensville South H.S. team advanced to the Illinois Class 7A state championship game, where it lost to Lake Zurich, 7-3. Sliger's Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) H.S. team, meanwhile, went 10-3 and topped four-time defending state champion Warren Central H.S. to win the sectional, but then fell to top-ranked Pike in the regional.

The recruits will get an opportunity to do something that IU targets haven't been able to do in recent years – watch the team practice. Indiana will practice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend in preparation for Sunday's announcement of IU's bowl destination. The future Hoosiers will also have an opportunity to be around the players more than in past seasons, since everyone will still be around the football complex gearing up for the Hoosiers' first bowl game since 1993.

Next weekend's list of visitors figures to be an impressive one. Headlining the list will be Indianapolis Franklin Central H.S. tailback Darius Willis, the state's top running back. Willis is visiting Kentucky this weekend and is scheduled to visit Boston College Dec. 14. Top Stories