Bloomington, Ind. – Shane Covington’s first trip to Bloomington didn’t go as planned.
The Indiana coaching staff had seen highlight film of the 6-1, 188-pound athlete from Milwaukee’s Riverside H.S., and told him they wanted to offer him a scholarship if he’d come to Bloomington for a one-day camp. Covington had every intention of doing so, but suffered a hip pointer at Wisconsin’s camp the day before his scheduled arrival in Bloomington.
The injury wiped out Covington’s trip, but not the mutual interest. Covington rescheduled the Bloomington visit for a couple of weeks later, sat down with the IU coaching staff, watched film with IU running backs coach Gerald Brown, toured the facilities, and left with an IU scholarship offer in hand.
It didn’t take Covington long to decide Bloomington was the right fit for him. Covington picked IU over Illinois and Kansas State on Friday, becoming the 14th member of IU’s 2007 class and the third running back.
“I like the atmosphere there,” Covington said. “I like the college, how it feels, and the people there. Plus, with Coach Brown, we have a good relationship. I like him a lot.”
Brown, meanwhile, liked what he saw from Covington. While many other programs recruited him to play wide receiver – a position he’s ranked No. 66 nationally by Scout.com - Indiana thinks Covington fits its mold of running back.
“The system they run, I should be really good in that because I’m a running back who can catch, I can line up in the slot, and I can also put my head down and get the extra yards,” said Covington, who ran a 4.51 in the 40.
There’s no mistaking Covington’s versatility. He spent the first two years of his prep career at quarterback, and then played running back, wide receiver and nickel back as a junior. This season, he said he anticipates playing some quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back while also returning kickoffs and punts as well.
“I’ll be all over the place,” Covington said. “I have to pick up the slack in as many areas as my team needs.”
As a junior, he earned first-team all-conference honors as a running back after rushing for 525 yards and eight touchdowns on 78 carries. He also added 22 catches for 355 yards and a pair of scores to go along with another two touchdowns as a punt returner.
Playing running back in college wasn’t an absolute must for Covington, but he admits his preference was to find a program that would allow him to carry the ball.
“If it came down to not having a choice I would have played wide receiver, but the first school to say I could play running back, they went to number one on my list,” Covington said. “I would love to have the chance to play running back in college.”
Kansas State recruited him to play wide receiver, while Illinois wanted him as a running back. The Illini were in good shape with Covington early on, but when his recruiting coach took a leave of absence from the program, Covington wasn’t sure that the coach would return and decided he could find a better fit.
He originally had visions of going to Wisconsin, but the homestate school didn’t give him the sort of attention that he had hoped for.
“At first I wanted to go (to Wisconsin), I went to spring practice and junior days,” Covington said. “I was showing them a lot of love. But my dad told me, you don’t want to want the college, you want the college to want you. They weren’t showing me the love.”
Wisconsin eventually told Covington that he wasn’t what they were looking for, and he wound up deciding that the Badgers’ Big Ten counterpart, Indiana, was the right place for him.
“I’m excited,” Covington said. “I can’t wait to get there and play schools like Michigan and Wisconsin.”
Click Below for Covington's highlight tape: