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June 15, 2005
With the changing dynamics in the state of Indiana the past 12 months, it's been interesting to follow the recruiting battles in state. With new coaches in Bloomington and South Bend and Joe Tiller entrenched in West Lafayette, some of the most interesting recruiting battles in the Midwest could happen in the state this year.
That's what makes the Rivals.com preseason Indiana Top 15 an interesting list to dissect.
Notre Dame has gotten an early jump on the other two in-state schools, landing commitments from the No. 1 and No. 3 players.
Running back James Aldridge of Crown Point (Ind.) Merrillville takes home the top honors in the state. The Notre Dame bound running back committed to the Irish back on May 5, picking them over Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue and others.
Athlete Luke Schmidt of Jasper, Ind., is the No. 3 player in the state and just like Aldridge he's heading to South Bend. Schmidt could project at a number of positions, but most programs recruited him to play H-back or fullback.
Steve Brown of Columbus (Ind.) East is the No. 2 player in Indiana. Brown quite possibly could have been the fastest riser of anybody in the nation after a NIKE Camp performance. Brown, who measured in at 6-foot and 197 pounds, ran a 4.39-second time in the 40-yard dash at the camp and two days later he had offers from Michigan and Notre Dame.
"Since that NIKE Camp there have been a lot more coaches talking to my coach and wanting me to know that they are aware of me and want to offer me as soon as they can," Brown said. "I don't know where I'd be without that performance."
Purdue is the top team on the list for the No. 4 player in Indiana - Greenwood inside linebacker A.J. Edds.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder also has offers from Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
Cicero (Ind.) Hamilton Heights offensive guard Cody Faulkner rounds out the top five and fast-rising linebacker Andre Hatchett of Indianapolis Warren Central takes home the No. 7 ranking. Hatchett came in just ahead of his two teammates - lineman Jason Onyebuagu and defensive back Dexter Taylor.
Indiana quarterback commitment Ben Chappell mans the No. 10 spot and gives the Hosiers a nice stepping stone into the 2006 recruiting season.