Bloomington - Nick VanHoose, a 6-0, 170-pound athlete from St. Paris, Ohio, is the latest player to…
VanHoose, Hoosiers A Perfect Match
VanHoose, meanwhile, is getting exactly what he wanted.
The 6'1", 180-pounder from Graham H.S. in St. Paris, Ohio, verbally committed to the Hoosier football program Wednesday, becoming the ninth member of Bill Lynch's 2011 recruiting class.
VanHoose has been a do-it-all player at Graham H.S., starring on both sides of the ball. As a junior he rushed for 1,877 yards and 25 touchdowns on offense, while adding five interceptions and 12 passes broken up as a cornerback on defense. He also handled the team's kicking and return duties for good measure.
VanHoose's skills aren't limited to the football field. He's also a gifted basketball player, averaging a team-high 15.8 points, 3.3 assists and 3.4 steals while earning Area Player of the Year honors this past spring after leading his team to a 20-4 mark.
"He's one of the highest quality kids they could get," Graham H.S. Football Coach Nic Black said. "He's extremely explosive and sudden athletically. He does it all for us, and if we have another good year next fall I think he's a legitimate candidate for Mr. Football.
"I thought all along he'd be a steal for any program."
That program is Indiana, a school that isn't necessarily used to going into Ohio and luring potential players of the year out of the Buckeye state. But a pre-existing relationship helped open the door for the Hoosiers, and a subsequent trip to Bloomington sealed the deal.
IU assistant coach Brian George, a fellow Graham H.S. product, is VanHoose's recruiter. Black said George's family has known the VanHooses for years, and the IU assistant coach has known Nick since he was a youngster. That familiarity was big in convincing VanHoose that IU was the right fit.
"Nick said he didn't want to go more than four hours away, so home is important to him, and having a comfort level is important to him," Black said. "He had that comfort level with IU, Coach George and Coach (Bill) Lynch. That sold him."
Another big selling point was a spring trip to Bloomington. That provided VanHoose with an opportunity to see Indiana's new football facilities, which provided further evidence that it was a good fit.
"When he visited in the spring, the facilities blew him away," Black said. "I think after that trip that he felt that if IU offered, he was going.
"For him, getting an IU offer wasn't a bargaining chip for Ohio State or another program. He had a dream in mind, and if he got a chance, he was going to take it."
That's good news for Indiana, which is getting a player than ran a 4.36 in the 40 at a recent workout at Bowling Green. While Indiana was one of the first to offer a scholarship to the small school star, Black has little doubt about the number of scholarships VanHoose could have received if he'd opted to wait longer, or about the prospects for him making a major impact at Indiana.
"He's not a kid who wanted to let it go on and on," Black said. "He went to Indiana in the spring and fell in love with the whole thing, the atmosphere. Had he not committed when he did, we'd be talking about a kid with 15 offers. I think he was ready for himself to be settled and know where he's going."
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