Bloomington, Ind. – Indianapolis Cathedral Coach Jim O'Hara thinks he's got a good one in Kyle Koehne.
The 6'6", 300-pound offensive tackle has been a two-year starter, playing an integral role on teams that have a combined mark of 24-5 and won a state championship in 2006. He earned IFCA Junior All-State honors in the fall, and he reminds O'Hara of one of the best linemen to go through Cathedral.
"He's a good athlete with excellent feet and hands," said O'Hara. "He reminds us quite a bit of Jeremy Trueblood."
A 2001 Cathedral grad, Trueblood is the 6'8", 320-pound offensive lineman who starred at Boston College before being picked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He started 13 games as a rookie and then all 16 this past season on a Tampa Bay team that won the NFC South and advanced to the playoffs.
O'Hara says Koehne is as far along at this point in his career as Trueblood was, which suggests big things are ahead for the big offensive tackle. He recently had a chance to show off his skills on a national level, as he was one of approximately 500 juniors to compete at the U.S. Army All-America combine in San Antonio.
"He has a passion to play college football, so to be invited down there, right now he's highly motivated," said O'Hara. "To be recognized as one of the better players in the nation has inspired him to do a better job in the weight room and to keep working on his skills."
Plenty of programs have taken notice of those skills. Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Virginia, Boston College, N.C. State, Ohio State and Cincinnati are among the programs that have stopped by in recent weeks to talk with O'Hara about Koehne.
While most schools are still evaluating Koehne before offering a scholarship, both Indiana and Iowa have already pulled the trigger with an offer. Iowa was the first school to do so, while Indiana followed suit about a week ago.
The Indiana offer came in close proximity to when Koehne was in Bloomington as one of approximately a dozen in-state stars visiting for IU's Junior Day. While in town Koehne had a chance to catch up with former Cathedral H.S. teammate and current IU freshman center Dan Rutigliano, and he came away impressed with the trip according to O'Hara.
"He's impressed with how they're adding on to their facilities," O'Hara said. "He thinks that's pretty cool to possibly be a part of the new facilities and the new tradition down there."
Landing in-state stars like Koehne has been a priority for the IU staff in recent years, as it looks to lure the state's top recruits to Bloomington as the foundation for a consistent bowl-caliber team. The Hoosiers did that a year ago by getting commitments from six of the state's top 20 recruits according to Scout.com, including elite running back Darius Willis.
This year, they're looking to do that once again as they target players such as Koehne. While O'Hara thinks Koehne will keep all his options open, he admits that staying closer to home is often a good decision for recruits.
"I think it's good for families if your son is fortunate enough to play at that level that he can play close to home so his family can come watch him play," O'Hara said. "We have some outstanding schools in the state, and it's good for the families. You get so far away, it's hard to share the experience with your family."
'09 Introduction: Kyle Koehne
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