When Joe Troop committed recently to play football at the University of Indianapolis, the Chesterton burner didn't realize he was going to be part of a region rush to the capital city.
"I came up to Rashaan Coleman at the DAC indoor (track) meet, and he said, 'It's about time we're teammates,'" Troop said.
They're not the only ones.
Troop and Coleman (Portage) will be joined at UIndy by another Duneland Athletic Conference product, Valparaiso's Andrew Kittridge. Merrillville's Dylon Collins signed with the Greyhounds back in February.
"I heard the other day I was going to be with the three of them," Troop said. "I had no idea about any of them committing to the same school. It's definitely weird. Playing against them for four years, the rivalries, I never thought I'd be friends with them.
"Once we move on to college, we're no longer enemies, we'll be teammates."
The group comprised some of the best skill position talent in Northwest Indiana last season and the stash could be quite the coup for coach Bob Bartolomeo, who credits assistant coach Kenny Ray Augustus for developing ties with local coaches.
The Greyhounds roster already includes players from Lowell, Michigan City, Crown Point, Gary, LaPorte and region cousin Rensselaer.
"There's a lot of great programs in Northwest Indiana and we're slowly starting to make gains in the area," said Bartolomeo, a 1973 Andrean grad. "They're hard-working, tough guys. We're looking forward to getting them down here to become a part of the program."
The Greyhounds went 10-3 last year, winning the Great Lakes Valley Conference at 8-0 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
If the NWI contingent's array of abilities translate to the collegiate level, that success will continue.
"They took the best of everybody and now it's going to be on one team," Troop said. "Each guy has a special skill on the field -- Kittridge, power, Coleman, agility, Collins, speed.
"We've all got (good) hands. I think we can all do unbelievable things."
UIndy runs a variety of sets, though Bartolomeo describes it as primarily a one-back offense.
Coleman and Troop will split out wide and work in the slot, in addition to displaying their play-making abilities on returns.
"One of the things that excited us about them is they're all great athletes," Bartolomeo said. "They're very versatile kids who are good enough to do a lot of different things to help us win a football game.
"They proved it last fall."
The group will get a head start on being teammates and becoming familiar with their new school this summer. Troop, Coleman and Kittridge have all been named to the North All-Star team, which spends the week in advance of the game in the UIndy football dorm.
"That's going to be pretty cool," Troop said.
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