JIM PETERS: More blue-chip recruits on Region football horizon

2013-02-07T17:00:00Z 2013-02-09T13:00:03Z JIM PETERS: More blue-chip recruits on Region football horizonJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 07, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

Signing day for college football came and went with nary the sound of a pen on paper around the region Wednesday, as the area's top player (David Yancey) already going to class at Purdue.

No reason to fret. Next year promises to be much busier, with at least three current juniors already drawing substantial interest.

A 6-foot-3 leaper, West Side wide receiver/defensive back Lonnie Johnson is the best player most of us haven't seen. Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Bo Pelini (Nebraska) have seen enough of him to extend scholarships.

Lake Central linebacker Gelen Robinson recently picked up his first offer from Illinois and is on plenty of radars across the Big 10.

E.C. Central running back Martayveus Carter has prompted several Big 10 and MAC visits to coach Stacy Adams. Linebacker Patrick Shaw and tight end Tre-Quan Burnett also have D-I suitors.

Crown Point linebacker Brendyn McKinnon's name is popping up as a possible big-school prospect.

"There's not much difference between D I and D II," L.C. coach Brett St. Germain said. "In most cases, it's a couple inches or a tenth of a second in the 40. Gelen's a special breed of athlete, the kind that's likely to play on Sundays, but even as talented as he is, it still shows how technical it can get. It's 100 percent a height issue. Their question is, is he going to grow like his dad and brother?"

Robinson has been a one-man wrecking crew, but stands about 6-1. If he were 6-5, everyone in the country would want him now. Instead, the big boys will wait to see if he sprouts or not. Michigan, where brother Glenn is on the basketball team, spoke to St. Germain last week.

"People ask me, how come he hasn't had more offers yet?" St. Germain said. "It's not an issue of can he play. They all know he can play. It's what exactly is he going to be for us? Everybody sees him as a rush end, outside linebacker, but he's not the right height at that level. That's just how it works. Those schools are bringing in guys to play particular positions. A lot of it is just the fit, the need."

Adams said Carter last ran a 40 in the low 4.6s, a time that's not off the charts, but interest was sparked after he was voted second team at the Army Combine in San Antonio.

"He's got work to do, but I think the sky's the limit," Adams said. "You go to Rivals and see his clips, he was separating from some of the best defensive players in the nation. He has great football speed. He just has to continue to go out and do the things he's been doing."

IU and Ball State have pursued Carter the strongest so far, with Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson scheduled to make a trip to E.C.

As for the absence of high-end talent in the area this season, Adams doesn't see it as a cause for concern.

"There just aren't that many of a D-I caliber in general," he said. "There are a lot of kids I believe could be, but there just aren't that many kids who can go out and run a 4.4, 40. It's hard to find those type of kids. It's not that the region isn't as strong, it's just the fact that those kids don't come too easy."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.peters@nwi.com.

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