Bloomington – Indiana is hoping that coming in first will mean something to Pike (Ind.) H.S. athlete Dakotah Tyler.
On Wednesday, the Hoosiers were the first to offer a scholarship to the 6-0, 205-pound standout from Indianapolis. IU Assistant Coach Billy Lynch called Pike H.S. Coach Derek Moyers to let him know if the Hoosiers' intentions, and Tyler later called Lynch back to hear the news for himself.
"That was absolutely a big deal to him," said Moyers, whose team went 14-1 last season and finished as the Class 5A state runner-up. "Anytime you get offered by a school in the Big Ten, that speaks volumes about him as a football player."
Tyler's numbers also speak volumes about his abilities. On the football field, Tyler recorded 81 tackles to anchor a defense that surrendered only 11 points/game. While he spent most of his time in the secondary as a junior, he'll add quarterback to his duties this fall.
"He'll play quarterback for us because we want the ball in our best player's hands, and he's by far our best player," Moyers said. "I think we'd be doing our team a total disservice if Dakotah wasn't on the field at those key moments in the game."
Off the field Tyler can do some special things as well. He recently ran a 4.38 in the 40 at the Scout.com Combine in Cincinnati two weeks ago, the best mark of any player in attendance. He's also posted a vertical jump of 37 inches, a broad jump of 10 feet, and he squats 510, benches 320 and can power clean 300 pounds.
It all adds up to a player that IU would like to have in the fold when it announces its 2009 recruiting class next February. Moyers said IU is recruiting him as an athlete, with the intentions of starting him out at safety.
"The thing that jumps out about him is his overall athleticism, and on top of that he's an outstanding football player," Moyers said.
Indiana might have been the first to offer a scholarship, but more will likely come soon. Moyers said that Tyler's junior film was sent out relatively late, which is a big reason why he didn't get more offers early on this spring. But as of late, he said he's been hearing from the likes of Colorado, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati as well as most of the Big Ten schools.
Moyers said he's encouraging Tyler to let the recruiting process play out, but he doesn't necessarily think it will take a great deal of time before his standout begins to narrow things down in his mind.
"I think he wants to give the process and chance, and I don't blame him," Moyers said. "I'm encouraging him to let the process run its course. But I think by the end of June, early July he'll have a really good idea what he wants to do. Then we'll sit down again and re-evaluate and go from there.'
Tyler will have a chance to take an up close look at many of his suitors in June. He'll be in Bloomington along with many of his high school teammates on June 7 for IU's 7-on-7 camp, and he's also planning on attending camps at Cincinnati and Ohio State next month.
While the recruiting competition figures to be fierce, Indiana will be pointing to more than just being the first to offer. The Hoosiers also have last year's bowl trip and the renovations underway at Memorial Stadium as examples of the commitment to winning football games.
Those are big selling points, but so is IU's renewed interest in luring the state's best players to Bloomington. Moyers said IU's ability to recruit Darius Willis – a player who ran for 175 yards in two games against Pike last season – sends a message to recruits like Tyler.
"The one thing that Coach Lynch told me is that they're going to go out and get the best players in Indiana, and I think that's important because in the past the best players have gotten out of the state," Moyers said. "Getting a kid like Darius, I think that speaks volumes about what they're trying to do at IU. That lets Dakotah and others around the state know that they're serious about competing for a Big Ten championship."
Hoosiers First to Offer Pike's Tyler
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