Huskers offer big-time RB

Sometimes you need that one thing to seperate one offer from 15 or so others. That one thing could be location, playing time or a friend that will be at that school. That is exactly the case for Nebraska who has offered one of the best running backs in the nation who happens to be friends of a recruit that just signed with Nebraska.

If you were just looking at James Aldridge and knew that he was a cross-town rival of a recent Husker recruit you would know that Nebraska didn't sign anyone from Indiana last year. What you wouldn't know is that Aldridge has only been at Merrillville for a year now.

Before that, the 6-foot-2 and 200 pound running back was across town at Hazelwood Central from Chris Brooks who was at East. The two on the field were adversaries and off the field had known each other basically all of their lives.

"I have a friend that is going to be up there whose name is Chris Brooks. I'm from St. Louis originally," Aldridge said. "I just moved up to Indiana like six months ago. I was Hazelwood Central, we were rivals. I played little league with him since we were little. We just pretty much always knew each other since we were little."

The fact that he knew a Nebraska commit wasn't necessary, his stats have been enough for a little over a dozen other schools other than Nebraska to step up and offer. "Oh my goodness. I am up to 15 offers. OK, let's go, we have Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa State, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana, Duke, Northern Illinois, Ball State and I am trying to think of the others."

"Everybody who sends in tape my coach sends them my highlights and I have gotten an offer from everyone who got my tape. I would say that Virginia is close to offering. The coach that was recruiting me at Northern Illinois got a new job at Virginia. Now, Virginia is talking about offering. They just got film. Also Virginia Tech is close to offering."

It's easy to understand why so many schools have stepped up and offered or are close to offering. Aldridge had a tremendous season and brought home some serious honors. "I had 2100 yards rushing and 2400 all-purpose yards. I had 22 total touchdowns. I had 20 touchdowns rushing and two more receiving. I caught 14-14 on receiving. I threw a 40-yard touchdown, too."

"I got all-conference, all-state, top 33 in Indiana and I got the Super 26 in Indiana. I am a little heavier now than I was this fall, I am 215 now. I still have 4.45 speed in the 40 though."

Last year was a little awkward when it came to taking camps. He went to KSU as an individual and at the Missouri team camp he found out that his father was getting transferred and that he was leaving St. Louis. "I went to Kansas State and Missouri last summer. Last summer I was half way in the Missouri camp when I got moved to a new high school. I got an offer from Missouri and Kansas State and got an offer."

This summer's plans really depend on when Aldridge will be making his decision. He is planning on taking some unofficial visits, but his camps are still up in the air. "It really depends on if I commit early or not. I am going to commit early because I am going to graduate early to enroll in college so I can play spring ball wherever I go. I will probably go to a Nike combine or something like that."

Aldridge has made up his mind to graduate early from high school so that he can enroll early in college. He sees being able to enroll early as an advantage to at least two schools that he is considering. "When you graduate and enroll early you get a foot in the door before any other freshman. I want to establish myself as a good running back before anyone else comes in."

"I don't know how Nebraska is, because I know that they just got Marlon Lucky. He seems like a pretty good player. I saw him in the All-American game. Beyond him though they only have a senior in Cory Ross. I know the West Coast offense is really an offense for multiple backs and different style backs so they are really someone to consider."

"I agree with Coach Callahan and what he is doing there. I like the situation at Nebraska. I also like the situation at Purdue because they haven't signed a running back in two years. They are just telling me that I can come in after graduating early and be the man. The spot is pretty much there. I would have to beat somebody else out from my own class."

Aldridge just recently receive his offer from Nebraska and immediately called the coaches. The conversation that he had following the offer was interesting, to say the least. "Coach Cosgrove and Coach Callahan are both recruiting me. I spoke to both last week when I got the offer last Wednesday."

"Coach Callahan was trying to get me to commit. It was wild. With him coming straight out of the pros like he is, it is kind of like a pitch. It's his coaching style and he knows what he wants in a player. There are a lot of good things about a situation when a coach is coming straight out of the league."

So is it too early to commit right now? "I wouldn't necessarily say it's too early to end the process, but it was just a little too out of the blue. There are also other offers coming in out of the blue. I really don't want to end it now. I have heard that the whole process can get frustrating after a while and I don't want it to become frustrating. I'm really concerned about my school. I don't want it to interfere with my school."

"I knew that Coach Callahan was pretty serious about is and I know that if my dad would have found out about it before I spoke to him about it I would have come home and got my head knocked off (laughing). I am going to the spring game; I am going to make sure that I am going to get up there. I will get up there for something. There are usually a lot of things going on and other players there during a junior day, but I may get up there for a practice and get to see a lot of things in depth."

The talks with his father is very serious. Also, a lot of doors are just opening to Aldridge and he may not be willing to close them all just yet. "Everything is new that is coming in. Everyday there is something. One day I will say that I have interest in someone and then later that day another school will pop up and I will say, 'Whoa, that's cool.' Kind of like with Nebraska."

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