The value of the off-season in a prospect's recruitment is evidenced in the case of Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller tight end Evan Jansen.
As a junior, Jansen say behind senior tight end John Tanner who went on to sign a Division I letter of intent. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Jansen caught just six balls as a junior, but his performances at off-season camps and combines earned him several scholarship offers. On Tuesday, he made the decision to accept one of those offers.
"I just committed to play for Indiana," Jansen reported. "Our coach texted one of their guys before I called and he said they were still looking for me to commit, saying I was their No. 1 tight end on their recruiting board.
"I called Coach [Kevin] Wilson first, but he didn't answer so I called tight ends coach Seth Littrell and talked to him. He had been saying forever that I was his No. 1 guy, so they were excited."
Besides Indiana, Jansen had also been offered by Air Force, Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Harvard and Western Kentucky. All that interest came despite Jansen seeing limited playing time as a junior.
"Some of it was a surprise, even hearing from certain schools," Jansen admitted. "Playing behind John I didn't get as many opportunities as I would have had I started. I think most of my offers came because the school actually came in and watched me work out."
Jansen embarked on a June summer camp tour that involved stops at Indiana, Boston College and Duke. He did not receive the same level of interest from Boston College or Duke that he received from the Hoosiers, giving him confidence to make his decision now.
"Either way I felt Indiana was the best place, so it seemed like it was about time to commit," Jansen said. "I went there for a junior day back in March and went to their camp also. The first thing was the coaches. I liked every single one of them and they have great résumés. The second thing would be getting a tour of the campus. I got a tour of the inside and all the buildings and absolutely loved it."
Jansen also drew confidence from getting questions answered by the Hoosier's staff that he had about the program.
"Really one of the things that was worrying me was they went 1-11 last year," Jansen said. "So I spoke with the tight ends coach, Coach Littrell, and he said when he played for Oklahoma they had won [three] games his senior season of high school, then four, then five and ended up winning the national championship. That was good to hear a program could turn around that fast."
Jansen now looks to be a catalyst for a turn-around with Indiana's program, and also expects to encourage other prospects to join him in Bloomington.