Having just completed a 9-3 regular season under second-year coach Pete Lembo, the present of Ball State football is in great shape. Over the past four days, Lembo has gone about ensuring that the future is bright as well.
“One of the things that I enjoy so much in what I do is that there is almost a changing of seasons,” Lembo said, “even though we are still in season, because we are playing in the postseason, there is a changing of seasons and it's a nice segue into different parts of the year.”
The regular season ended last Saturday for the Cardinals when they earned a road win at Miami (Ohio). With that victory in hand, Lembo and six members of his staff immediately set out on the road to begin the recruiting season.
Lembo spent this week traveling to Terre Haute, Indianapolis (twice) and Missouri to speak with players who have committed to Ball State and some who he hopes will soon commit.
“There is a refreshing element to getting in the car and going to see either a guy that has already verbally committed or hoping to see a prominent high school coach in the state of Indiana. To me, that's just what it is all about because at the end of the day, it's all about the people that you surround yourself with.”
The Cardinals have received 18 verbal commitments thus far, and Lembo said not only has the winning helped, but the fact that regardless of where those recruits hail from, they have had an opportunity to see the Ball State product numerous times.
Nine of the Cardinals' 12 games this season were on one of the ESPN networks or another national television network. That has played a big part in securing four high school student-athletes from North Carolina alone.
“We got some really, really good exposure this year,” Lembo said. “Whether it is a kid from Charlotte, a kid from Atlanta or a kid from Tampa, or even a kid from right here in Indiana, let's face it, sometimes schedules don't permit them to get to your game. So the fact that a kid can turn on the TV at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night and watch us beat Indiana on a last-second field goal, that's priceless.”
It's one thing for Lembo to be securing quantity, but Cardinals fans want to know about the quality of players.
“I'm really excited about the personality of so many of these (commitments),” Lembo said. “One of the biggest benefits to staff stability and continuity is that every year you get further ahead in the recruiting process. As you get further ahead, you start to build relationships with these guys sooner and therefore you have more interaction with them through the course of the process.”
House of Cards
Here are a list of players that have verbally committed to Ball State for the fall of 2013:
Jack Milas – QB, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) HS
Steven Drida – K, Waukesha West (Wis.) HS
Calvin Blank – TE, Terre Haute North HS
Jarrid Lloyd – OT, Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.)
Stu Stanley – OLB, Cathedral HS
Blake Dueitt – DT, Hough HS (Cornelius, N.C.)
William Lee – DT, Arsenal Tech HS
Vinnie Palazeti – OT, Powers Catholic HS (Flint, Mich.)
David Moore – CB, Butler HS (Matthews, N.C.)
Desmond King – S, Crockett Technical HS (Detroit)
Ralph Smith – CB, Avon (Ohio) HS
Daniel Garces – DE, Providence Day School (Charlotte, N.C.)
Anthony Winbush – DE, Warren Central HS
Haris Vrabac – OT, Warren-Mott HS (Warren, Mich.)
Sean Wiggins – ILB, Butler HS (Matthews, N.C.)
Pat Maloney – OG, Maine Township South HS (Park Ridge, Ill.)
Nick Isaacs – ILB, Withrow HS (Cincinnati)
Teddy Williamson – RB, Fort Zumwalt North HS (O'Fallon, Mo.)