Always an athletic specimen, St. John (Ind.) Lake Central linebacker Ike Spearman has started to come into his own as a football player this fall, and the college attention has increased in proportion.
The 6-1, 220-pound Spearman entered the fall with scholarship offers from Minnesota, Ole Miss, Northern Illinois, Vanderbilt and Western Michigan, but new teams could be added to that list in the coming months.
"The teams stepping up have been Louisville, Purdue, IU and I've talked to Coach [Dennis] Springer at Northwestern," Spearman said. "The Minnesota coaches, I always stay in contact with them. Coach [Jerry] Kill got hurt this week, and I talked to their coaches about that."
Lake Central is off to a 4-0 start to the 2011 season, and Spearman has recorded 44 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, a blocked punt and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in those four games.
"Junior year to senior year, everything has improved," Spearman said. "It started with a lot of training and then this off-season I did a lot of 7-on-7 competitions."
Spearman's father sent him out to Carson, Calif., during the off-season to work with a trainer there. By the time summer rolled around Spearman had a 40-inch vertical jump, a 10-8 broad jump, a 345-pound bench press max, a 515-pound squat max, a 4.6 40-yard dash time and a 4.14 shuttle.
"Last year there was a guy named Tony Steward who went to Clemson and he was the No. 1 linebacker," Spearman said. "We printed out his speed, weight, vertical - all of his numbers that were on Rivals - and posted it on my door. Basically I just worked to try to make sure I would get to that level. I looked at who was the top and made sure I was capable of making it to that goal."
But Spearman also made sure he was getting in football shape as well. He joined the Goon Squad 7-on-7 team, featuring fellow Division I prospects Zeke Pike, Justin Combs, Deaysean Rippy and Gehrig Dieter.
"I think being exposed to that type of competition allowed me to see I can compete with anybody," Spearman said.
Now that he has seen his performance pick up and the success of his team this fall, Spearman does not expect a decision on his college future to come early in the fall.
"That was the plan originally, but because of the success of my team I am going to concentrate on trying to win state," Spearman said. "We'll see how things fall in place after that."
Had Spearman made a decision early this fall, there was a strong chance Ole Miss would have been the recipient of that pledge. They continue to be a team Spearman has high interest in.
"The staff there has been real good to me," Spearman said. "I've been down there two times and my father told me today we are going to try and make the Georgia game."
Other fall game visits are currently being planned by Spearman and his father and those trips will start this coming weekend with a visit to an in-state school.
"I am probably going down to IU this weekend," he said. "I'm going to go to a Louisville game and I'm going to make it to a University of Kentucky game as well. I'll also see Purdue and probably Northwestern as well."
Offers from Ole Miss and Western Michigan late in the spring kicked off Spearman's recruitment. Now the Indiana native's stock is on the rise and his offer list looks likely to grow in the coming weeks and months.