Bloomington – Who's next?
The IU football program secured a huge verbal commitment Friday when Jeffersonville quarterback Edward Wright-Baker gave his pledge during an unofficial visit. The hope in IU circles is that will be the start of a steady stream of commitments in the coming days and weeks.
So who might be the next player to add his name to IU's '09 commitment list? The player to watch is Ben Davis defensive tackle Jordan Stepp.
The 6-0 ½, 280-pound defensive tackle from Indianapolis' Ben Davis H.S. was in Bloomington Thursday for an unofficial visit with both his mother and grandmother, the latest in a series of trips to look at Coach Bill Lynch's program. He plans to visit his other favorite, Cincinnati, on Sunday and could make a decision soon afterwards.
"The (Indiana) visit went great," said Stepp, Scout.com's 47th-ranked defensive tackle nationally. "The last visit was great, every time I go down there I have a great time."
Stepp has also been impressed with Coach Brian Kelly's Cincinnati program throughout the process, but recent recruiting developments have given him some cause for concern. The Bearcats have secured verbal commitments from four defensive linemen in the last three days, so the prospect of early playing time isn't as obvious as it was before the rush of commitments.
Stepp said he still fully intends to make the trip to Cincinnati Sunday along with his mother so she can meet the coaching staff as well as the academic counseling staff, but Indiana appears to be in very good position for one of the state's top defensive players in the '09 class.
Indiana has many of the obvious draws for Stepp – it's only an hour away from his Indianapolis home, giving his family an opportunity to see him play often either in person or on the Big Ten Network. But it's what he's seen from the coaching staff as well as the players that has him thinking seriously about becoming a Hoosier in '09.
"Indiana football is for real now," Stepp said. "IU is looking at going to a bowl game for the next four or five years. They're a program that's going up. The coaching staff is also great. That's my favorite thing about IU. Everyone there is so cool."
Stepp said it was a recent conversation with Ben Davis Offensive Coordinator Jason Simmons that helped bring him some clarity about the pros and cons of each of his two favorites. Each play in major conferences and are now competing for bowl games, but Stepp came away from that conversation seeing many of the positives that IU would have to offer.
"My coach wasn't really fighting for IU, but he brought up a lot of good things to think about," Stepp said. "I'm feeling really good right now, I'll tell you that."
Stepp is also impressed with the commitment IU secured from Wright-Baker as well as the commitment the staff has to attracting the top in-state players to Bloomington. They've told him that his pledge could go a long way toward helping in that regard.
"When I was down there, Coach Lynch said it would be really important for a guy like me, someone a lot of people in the state know, to go to IU because a lot of people would follow suit," Stepp said. "That meant a lot to me."
It hasn't happened yet, and Stepp will give Cincinnati another hard look on Sunday. But as IU looks to add another big name to its '09 class, Stepp sounds like a very realistic possibility.
"I'm not set on anything yet, but I am feeling pretty good about IU right now," Stepp said. "Things might happen really soon with IU."
IU Class Set To Take Another Big Stepp?
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