Huge April for Midwest RB

<b>Merrillville, Ind.</b> - Head Coach Jeff Yelton has called him the most complete back he has ever coached and he has been compared to Bo Jackson. <b>James Aldridge</b>, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from Merrillville, (Ind.) sat down with and talked about what makes him an elite running back prospect. Aldridge also talks about his current leader and summer plans.

It's not often that the top running back in the Midwest region comes from Indiana. After all, the Hoosier State is all about the round ball. If it weren't for a tailback in Ohio named Chris Wells, James Aldridge could very will be the #1 back in the region.

"James is everything you dream of in a running back," Coach Yelton said.

"He has tremendous speed, balance, power and vision. He's a very good blocker and he's got great hands. James is just as good inside as he is outside and he's got separation speed.

"I've been coaching for a long time and kids like James Aldridge only come along once in a lifetime."

Aldridge gained 2,067 yards on the ground last year for the Pirates and scored 20 times. He was named all-state. James transferred to Merrillville from the St. Louis, (Mo.) area and we asked him if had to make an adjustment in his style of play when he moved from the city to the middle of the heartland.

"In St. Louis, you had more skilled players and in Indiana there are more big linemen on both offense and defense." James Aldridge said.

"In St. Louis, everyone could run. The linebackers, the tight ends, everyone had speed. Up here in Indiana it's more smash mouth type of play."

Several schools have offered Aldridge a scholarship and he's started to narrow his choices. Does James have a current leader?

"Oklahoma State is out in front right now," said Aldridge. "Coach (Curtis) Luper is in contact with me constantly by mail and I'll call down there and talk to him. Oklahoma State has done the best job of recruiting me so far.

"The other schools that I'm considering are Notre Dame, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Virginia and Ohio State. Notre Dame hasn't offered me yet."

It looks like we won't have to wait very long for Aldridge to make his college decision. He's going to hit the road in April and could have a decision about his college plans made by the beginning of summer.

"I'm looking to get this (recruiting) thing over with in about two months," Aldridge said.

"Recruiting is fun but it's also nerve racking. I'm going to hit Notre Dame on April 2nd and then I'm headed to Stillwater (OK State) on April 6th for a couple of days. After that I'm going to visit Ohio State and Iowa. By then I should have a good idea on where my heads at."

James Aldridge carries a 3.0 GPA in the classroom and plans on taking his ACT in May. He also runs track for Merrillville.

Extra Point - In talking with Aldridge he seemed excited that Oklahoma State shows him a ton of attention. He does feel like the Pokes want him the most. However, he also sounded to me like he's wide open between the four schools he'll visit in April. Notre Dame needs to offer and Ohio State has a verbal commitment from Chris Wells. This could very well be a battle between the Cowboys and Hawkeyes.

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