Bloomington – When Jeremy Gainer arrived for his official visit last weekend, the first order of business for the IU coaching staff was to see where they stood.
After all, the 6-2, 210-pound linebacker from Livonia (Mich.) Clarenceville H.S. had recently decided to re-open his recruitment after originally committing to IU back in June. Since deciding to take another look around, Gainer has made an official visit to Minnesota, received scholarship offers from the Gophers, Michigan State and Iowa, and taken a series of unofficials to other Big Ten schools such as Penn State and Wisconsin.
The surge in interest is no surprise considering Gainer is Scout.com's 22nd-ranked WILL linebacker nationally, and IU's staff wanted to try to find out what was on Gainer's mind.
"They were basically trying to see if Indiana still had light in the picture," Gainer said. "I was talking to Coach Lynch, and he wanted to see if Indiana was still in the picture, and if there was still hope or a chance I'd go to Indiana."
Gainer's answer was a welcomed one.
"Actually, they are still in the picture," Gainer said.
That's good news for Lynch, Michigan recruiter George Ricumstrict and the IU program, which has targeted Gainer as a player who could step in and contribute early on the defensive side of the ball. Gainer was one of the marquee names on the list of summer commits that IU stockpiled, a grouping that most believe represented the makings of IU's best recruiting class in 10-15 years.
Now, IU is hoping it can convince Gainer to reaffirm his pledge and sign in February.
"They are basically saying I'm their guy – I'm the guy they want to bring in at the WILL linebacker position," Gainer said. "I'm pretty sure they're saying I'm their top guy there, and they stressing how they really need someone for that position, someone like me who is athletic enough to go at wide receivers, and also be able to be in the box and blitz at times. They say I really fit that position."
While Indiana's coaches had some questions it wanted to get answered by Gainer, the talented recruit had his own questions for the Hoosier staff. Among those were their job security, what caused the rash of injuries that befell the program this season, as well as where they see the program headed in the next couple of years after this season's disappointing 3-9 mark.
"I was asking Coach Lynch about what's going to happen with the coaches – are they going to be there?" Gainer said. "I don't want to walk into a situation where that same year or the following year that no one is going to be there. I don't want to build a really strong relationship with Coach Ricumstrict and Coach Lynch, and all of a sudden everything is gone."
Lynch reassured Gainer that the coaches aren't headed anywhere, and that he believes the program can get back to where it's competing for regular postseason bowl berths.
"He was telling me the new AD was telling him they are going to honor contracts, that they want to take contracts more seriously," Gainer said. "They know he's a really good coach and that he can turn the program around. He was also saying that players like me and Ken (Watkins, Gainer's cousin) can help turn that program around, get them back rolling again. He was saying we want to win a Big Ten championship, and I understand that 100 percent."
With the Minnesota and Indiana officials now behind him, Gainer is still contemplating whether or not to take a couple of more officials before making a decision. While his ultimate choice doesn't necessarily appear imminent, he said he doesn't want to drag it out too long.
"I could wait until January, but I plan to start deciding on which schools I'm going to lean more away from around Christmas," Gainer said.
"Basically, I want to have all this said and done by early to mid-January…if I wait longer, I know a lot of other schools could come in that haven't been showing interest for a while. I want to go with people who have shown me a lot of love and interest, those are the schools I want to give hard looks to."
Gainer Talks IU Visit, Recruiting Situation
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