Bloomington – Merrillville (Ind.) quarterback Dolapo Macarthy received word of his first scholarship offer at the most unconventional of times.
In the middle of a football game.
Macarthy returned to the sidelines following a three-and-out in his team's second-round sectional contest against Crown Point. As he exited the field, Coach Zac Wells decided news of the scholarship offer might light a fire under his junior signal caller.
"He was like, ‘you're not playing like a quarterback who's been offered a full ride by Bowling Green,'" Macarthy said. "After hearing that, I had to turn it around."
Macarthy and Merrillville did just that, topping Crown Point, 13-7. The 6-5, 190-pounder would eventually help lead his team to the semistate and a 12-2 record, completing 94-of-218 passes for 1,694 yards and 11 touchdowns in his second season playing the quarterback position. He also ran for 512 yards and another 12 scores.
While Bowling Green was the first to offer, others have taken notice of Macarthy's skills as well. Iowa was the second school to offer, while Indiana added its name to his list of offers a week and a half ago. Purdue and Illinois have been showing interest, while Ohio State and Florida have just recently sent assistants to the high school to see Macarthy in person.
These are exciting times for a player didn't start playing football until he was in the ninth grade. He chosen sport was basketball, but decided to follow in his older brothers' footsteps and go out for football as a freshman.
"I was just playing football to get tougher, bigger and stronger for basketball," Macarthy said. "I never would have thought I'd be going to college to play football."
But after spending his freshman year at wide receiver, one of his prep coaches had him try quarterback as a sophomore due to a lack of depth at the position. Soon afterwards Macarthy was taking the reins of the Pirates' offense, and he's now emerging as a player with a future at the position.
One of the things that makes Macarthy so intriguing is the fact he's relatively new to the sport. He's already emerged as one of the state's top quarterbacks along with Carmel's Morgan Newton, Center Grove's Jordan Luallen, Columbus East's Dusty Kiel and Jeffersonville's Edward Baker-Wright, and he's someone who has a chance to blossom.
"I'm still raw and young, I just turned 16 last October, and I'm still learning. I feel once I reach my maximum potential, I'll be alright," Macarthy said.
His blend athleticism and size have led some to think he could be a recruiting target for some schools as a wide receiver, but Macarthy said he's not interested in moving back to the position where he got his start. Instead, he wants to have a chance to continue his development at the highest-profile position on the football field.
"There's no doubt I want to play quarterback," Macarthy said. "I'm not really interested in being converted. I played receiver as a freshman, but I've played quarterback ever since. I think if a program was converting me, I wouldn't want to do that."
Indiana appears to be targeting him as a quarterback, and Macarthy was in Bloomington earlier this year for Junior Day. He said there's plenty to like about Coach Bill Lynch's program.
"I think Indiana is an elite program," Macarthy said. "I know they have great players going through there, and the one thing that really jumped out to me when I was there was how they stressed academics, and being a student-athlete before anything."
Macarthy has also heard good things about the Hoosiers from a pair of Merrillville products, Jerry Williams and Brandon Mosley.
"When I was there they showed me the love and made me feel welcome," Macarthy said. "The coaches are friendly, and IU isn't too far from home.
"They stand out to me. I'd love to go play for them. I feel I'd fit in well with their offense."
While IU might be a great option, it doesn't appear that Macarthy is a candidate to become IU's first commit. He said he intends to wait until after his high school to make his college choice.
"I want to see how everything goes with this season and see what other schools have to offer too," Macarthy said. "I'm not really committing to anyone right now or anytime soon. I want to wait and leave my options open."
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