Bloomington – Matt Perez did a little bit of everything last year for Maine South (Ill.) H.S. while helping lead Coach David Inserra’s team the Class 8A state title. In the fall of 2010, Perez will be bringing those talents to the IU football program.
The 5’11”, 205-pound running back became the ninth member of Indiana’s 2010 recruiting class, committing to the Hoosiers Wednesday.
“He’s an explosive, hard-nosed kid,” Inserra said. “What sets him apart is his strength, balance and quickness. I don’t think I’ve seen him go down on the first hit. He gets a lot of yards after contact.”
Inserra has seen plenty of talented running backs in his 25 years at Maine South, a program that is traditionally one of the best in Illinois. But when it comes to Perez, there’s no mistaking where he stands among the talents that have gone through the program.
“I’ve been here 25 years, he’s the best running back we’ve ever had,” Inserra said.
Perez’s numbers back that up. As a junior, Perez amassed 2,600 yards of total offense for a team that ran the spread. He totaled a shade over 1,200 yards rushing despite getting only around 10 carries per game, and added another 600 yards receiving and another 600 yards in returns. He scored 31 touchdowns last fall, scoring via the rush, reception, punt return and kickoff return for Inserra’s squad.
Indiana’s staff was impressed with those numbers and what they saw on film, and then had him on campus last week for a one-day camp. IU’s staff already knew Perez power cleans 335 pounds and can squat 540, and then after he had a strong camp performance that included a 4.55 clocking in the 40, Indiana’s staff offered him on the spot.
Inserra said Perez also camped at Purdue and was getting significant interest from the Boilermakers, Central Michigan and Illinois State, among others. But he decided there was no reason to wait to find out if the others would offer at the conclusion of their one-day camps.
“He liked the campus, the new facilities, and I think he felt comfortable there,” Inserra said. “Even if the others offered, I think he felt his top choice would be Indiana.”
Inserra thinks Perez has made a good choice. The long-time coach knows IU Coach Bill Lynch well from his days as an IU assistant coach when he recruited the Chicago area, and has been impressed by not only Lynch but current Chicago area IU recruiter Kyle Conner as well.
“It’s exciting for all of us,” Inserra said. “Bill Lynch does a great job. He’s always been a top-class guy. I told Matt, Coach Lynch will be a father figure first. He does it the right way.”
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