SIGNING DAY 2006 - Matt Mayberry

SIGNING DAY 2006 - Matt Mayberry

He's a safety. No, he's a linebacker. No, he's a running back. No, he's a cornerback. Indiana recruit Matt Mayberry can do it all and Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner may let him do just that.

He's a safety. No, he's a linebacker. No, he's a running back. No, he's a cornerback. Indiana recruit Matt Mayberry can do it all and Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner may let him do just that.

"They talked to me on my official visit about playing running back or outside linebacker or even safety," said Mayberry. "I can play a lot of different positions but those are the three they think I'm best suited for.

"I think I can make the biggest impact at outside linebacker, though. I think that's where I'd see the most early playing time."

The 6'2", 205-pound Mayberry from Hinsdale South High in Darien, Ill., is one of the biggest "names" in Indiana's 2006 recruting class, having drawn attention from a slew of program around the nation. His hopes are to play as soon as possible for the Hoosiers and the most likely scenario would be him doing so as a linebacker.

"I played mostly safety on defense in high school, but I played all around," said Mayberry. "My senior season I feel like I never stayed in the same position. I think I played the most at tailback on offense, but on defense I played middle linebacker, safety, man-to-man corner and outside linebacker."

Mayberry knows that with what Indiana lost at the position during the off-season, there will plenty of competition for playing time at linebacker in the fall. He's hoping he can throw his hat into the ring.

"I know our recruiting class only has about three true linebackers and there are a lot of guys that can play outside linebacker, but I'm not too worried about anyone else," said Mayberry. "(Linebackers) Coach George Ricumstrict told me they don't have what they're looking for at that position and I'll have a chance to come in and compete right away. I think competition-wise, you're always going to have competition and it only makes you better."

The versatility of Mayberry is a very enticing proposition for any coach. The possibility of playing many positions makes Mayberry a dangerous weapon.

"I think that will help me out a lot in college," said Mayberry. "I have the most experience on the offensive side of the ball but people who have been around football for a long time have told me if you're quick and have an understanding of football things will come easier to you. I think that will help me out a lot in my career, just knowing the game. The hardest part will be just learning the system."

Mayberry drew the most attention for his success on the offensive side after having a breakout senior season at running back. He rushed for 2,152 yards and 33 touchdowns while earning all-state honors. He drew attention from Penn State, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State among others, but Mayberry committed to the Hoosiers in August before many of his suitors had a chance.

"My main reason for committing early was because I wanted to get it done and over with because I knew how overwhelming it would be," said Mayberry. "I went to a lot of colleges in May and throughout the summer and then went to a lot of camps while the offers came in. I'd say about early August I narrowed it down to four schools and Indiana just stuck out."

After watching the Hoosiers finish the season at 4-7, Mayberry could have listened to the other programs that were trying to draw him away from Indiana and playing for Hoeppner. Instead, he watched from a distance waiting for his turn to help turn the tide.

"I followed every game that was on TV and I went to Bloomington for the homecoming game against Illinois," said Mayberry.

"Basically it looked like they got worn out towards the end of the season from playing so many tough teams. But it didn't discourage me at all because I know I can help things change and it was only Coach Hoeppner's first year. Everyone in Bloomington seems to be excited and ready to back the program. We need to get them a winning season and I think it's bound to happen soon."

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