|Hometown/School:||Fort Wayne, In. (Northrop HS)|
Fort Wayne, Indiana's Northrop HS may have one of the most versatile athletes in the Midwest. At 6'3'', 256 pounds, Josh Gaines can play at least six different positions at the collegiate level. He's a very versatile jumbo athlete; a kind of Renaissance Man for the gridiron.
"Last year I played outside linebacker, middle linebacker, and tight end. I played a little bit of everything; played tailback some too," said Josh, who will concentrate on defensive end this year.
Originally listed around 240 pounds, Josh has packed on some muscle this summer as he gets ready for the physical nature of college football. Will Josh play defensive end for Northrop HS because he has eaten and lifted himself out of the other positions?
"Yeah that and a lot of colleges say that will be a position for me to play and they're recruiting me at defensive end. So my coach just went ahead and put the 4-3 defense in and put me at defensive end," Josh admitted, adding that he doesn't just play defense. "Penn State and Wisconsin want me to play tight end."
Currently, Josh has five offers, all from Big Ten schools--Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Penn State.
It seems that both of his parents will have at least some say on where their son ends up, but at the moment both have different opinions on where that should be.
"My mom, she likes a couple schools like Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State. My dad, he's just a Michigan guy--Michigan Wolverines," Josh said, adding the Wolverines are not in the picture. "I talked to (Michigan) a couple times but they just lost interest."
The current theme in the Midwest and East this summer has been for kids to get out and see as many schools as possible during their spring and summer breaks. Josh has been no different, stopping by the big three schools in Indiana to see what they have to offer.
"I've been to Indiana a couple times. I've been down there with the football team, going to spring practices. I went to Purdue. Me and my dad just went down on an unofficial visit. That was like two months ago. During spring break we went to Michigan State and Notre Dame," stated Josh, who plans to take visits to both Wisconsin and Penn State in the future, though those dates remain unclear.
Although he never seen Penn State's campus or met any of the coaches in person, when did the Nittany Lions enter the picture?
"The end of my basketball season, they started coming on strong. Coach Van[derlinden] came down and talked with my coach, but he couldn't talk with me," explained Josh, who received his Penn State offer in the middle of June.
"They came on strong and they seem to like me, but I haven't been up there yet."
Of the schools that have offered or shown interest, have any impressed him enough to have taken the lead?
"Right now I don't even know. I'm confused. I'm just waiting to see what happens," Josh admitted. "My parents play a big part in what happens. I just want to wait and see who else comes and I want to check out all the schools."
So an early verbal commitment is out of the realm of possibilities?
"I was going to see before the season started, but it's crazy. So I'll wait until during or after the season."
(Interview by Steve Curry)