Bloomington, Ind. – Jordan Luallen has a pretty good idea where he stands on IU's wish list for the '09 recruiting class.
The 6-3, 187-pound quarterback from Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove H.S. was one of approximately a dozen in-state Class of 2009 football prospects in Bloomington last weekend. It was just the latest trip to town for Luallen, who attended three IU games this fall and also made unofficials last spring and summer. Joined by both his parents last weekend, Luallen said the Hoosier coaches echoed their feelings about him.
"They've put a lot of emphasis on me and trying to get me to go to IU," said Luallen, who was offered an IU scholarship before the start of his sophomore season. "That's how they talk to me."
It's easy to see why. While his junior season statistics aren't staggering since Center Grove utilized the Wing-T offense, he's dazzled college coaches with his performances at summer camps and at combines. It's resulted in a steady stream of scholarship offers, and recruiting interest on a national level.
But much as it did with running back Darius Willis in the '08 class, the IU staff is hoping to convince Luallen that he's best suited to stay close to home and play for the Hoosiers. That's the message IU Coach Bill Lynch and his staff delivered last weekend when their Junior Day visitors were made up of only in-state players.
"Coach Lynch was trying to make the emphasis on getting the Indiana guys to come to Indiana," Luallen said. "They want to make the program based off Indiana kids, keeping the talent in state."
Luallen, meanwhile, is one of the state's most talented in the '09 class. He's a dual-threat quarterback, gifted with a strong arm, great size, and the sort of speed that allowed him to qualify for the state track and field meet a year ago in the hurdles as well as the 4x400 relay.
The IU staff has continued to hammer home the idea that those skills are a perfect fit for what the Hoosiers are doing offensively.
"They say that I can run and throw, and that I'm a similar type of guy (to current QB Kellen Lewis)," Luallen said. "They say I have a similar style of play, and they think it's a perfect offense for me."
While the IU offense is appealing to Luallen, the coaching staff is what has impressed Luallen the most during his trips to Bloomington. He's gotten to know in-state recruiter Billy Lynch as well as Head Coach Bill Lynch and IU Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Matt Canada during his visits, and they've made a big impression.
"I love those coaches – they're some of the greatest coaches I've ever met," Luallen said. "They are great people."
In the coming weeks, Luallen will have a chance to meet up with plenty of other coaches at a handful of other Junior Days. He said he's been invited to similar events at Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Kentucky and Georgia. He's scheduled to go to Iowa City Feb. 2, and has also committed to attend Georgia's during the spring. Conflicts will likely prevent him from making it to most of the others.
Georgia is a program that has surfaced as a strong contender for Luallen, and he'll be attending their junior day during the spring practice season. One of the lures of the Bulldog program is the fact all of his uncles, aunts and cousins live in Georgia, while the SEC school's coaching staff has also made a strong impression.
"I think the main thing that's stood out is the coaching staff and their Christianity," Luallen said. "I'm a real big Christian, and that's going to go pretty far with me and my decision.
"I see them as very similar to IU. I'm not sure about the religious backgrounds of the IU coaches, but they're all great guys. As for the Georgia coaches, they're all Christian men, and they are deep in their faith with Christ, and that's really stood out."
Whether it's Indiana or Georgia or someone else that eventually lands Luallen, they likely won't have to wait until next December or January for a decision. Luallen said he plans on graduating early with the intentions of enrolling at a college in January of 2009 to get a head start on the '09 season.
"If I feel comfortable with a school, I'm going to go ahead," Luallen said. "It doesn't matter if it's February or March, or when. But I would like to have it done before the season."
The IU coaching staff is hoping Bloomington proves to be the best fit for Luallen, a player who they've gotten to know during his numerous trips to town over the last couple of years. He said the staff has let him know how important he is to their '09 recruiting efforts, and it's a message that he's heard loud and clear.
"I feel like they really genuinely care about me," Luallen said. "Even if I don't go there, they would want to see me do my best. But I feel like they really, really want me."
Luallen Talks About IU Junior Day Trip
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