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Griffth set to live football dream at Indiana

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For more on Indiana athletics, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at pdiprimio.

Homestead senior part of 2013 class

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 6:32 am

Isaac Griffith gets to live a dream. Check that. He gets to live a moment that could lead to living a dream.

Life gets complicated that way.

Griffith is a Homestead senior football standout set to sign a national letter of intent with Indiana on Wednesday, the first day of the official signing period.

Yes, it means a lot.

“I'm really excited,” he said. “It's a great opportunity for me and my family. It's always been a dream of mine to play Big Ten football. I've wanted it ever since I was a little kid. I'm ready to get to the next chapter in my football career.”

A high ankle sprain limited Griffith to 29 catches for 597 yards last season. He helped lead Homestead to an unbeaten regular season and a No. 8 ranking before losing to eventual state runner-up Snider in the Class 5A sectional.

No matter. He's considered the state's No. 19 player in the Class of 2013. He will join 18 others as part of what Rivals.com, a national recruiting Internet publication, calls the nation's No. 51 class and the ninth-best class in the Big Ten.

The class includes four four-star (out of five) prospects in Indianapolis Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen, Georgia athlete Rashard Fant, Indianapolis Pike defensive end David Kenney and Indianapolis North Central defensive tackle Darius Latham.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Griffith's college preparation centers on working out at AWP Sports Performance in Fort Wayne. He's been there since he was a high school sophomore -- lifting weights and working on improving his football technique and explosiveness.

“I'm trying to get stronger and a little bigger,” he said. “I want to get to the point where I can run my fastest times and make my moves with the extra weight, but I don't want to get too big.

“Once the weather gets warmer, I'll be outside most of the time doing the route packages (Indiana) gives me and studying the playbook.”

Griffith was recruited as a receiver and doesn't expect that to change.

“I'll be more of an inside receiver, but (the coaches) told me to learn everything. They want to use me in multiple areas on the field.”

Griffith was the first player to commit to IU's class last June and instantly became another recruiter, working to convince other in-state players to join the program. He said he's friends with Allen, Kenney and Latham.

“We wanted to get in-state kids to stay in-state,” Griffith said. “We all get along. We have a family thing going on, that we'll always be there for each other. It will be fun to jell so quickly with these guys. I think it will be a special class.”

When healthy, Griffith is a big play waiting to happen. He has the speed to get deep (he's listed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash), the toughness to catch passes over the middle, and the elusiveness and balance to shred the most disciplined of defenses.

Griffith is the son of Manchester University coach Shannon Griffith.

IU is positioned as a program on the rise. It went 1-11 in coach Kevin Wilson's first season, 4-8 in his second. With 21 returning starters from the nation's youngest team, optimism is high.

“With what Coach Wilson has instilled in the program, and from being at practices and talking to the players, they all want to win,” Griffith said. “Last year they had a lot of close games. They were a young team and lot of those guys are back.

“Coach Wilson wants players who want to win and compete, who put everything they have into football. He said Indiana is too good of a school not to be good in football. These guys are working and competing and doing it 24/7. That's the biggest thing.”

Indiana's class emphasizes defense -- 12 players are on that side of the ball and two recruits listed as athletes might eventually end up there.

The highest-rated player is Allen, who is listed as the state's No. 5 player and the No. 20 safety overall by Rivals.com. Then there's Kenney, a 6-5, 250-pounder rated No. 6 in the state and No. 11 nationally at his defensive end position.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect is the 6-5, 291-pound Latham. He's rated as the state's No. 7 player and the No. 14 defensive tackle nationally. He's athletic enough to play high-level travel basketball as well as for North Central's state-power basketball program.

Five players are from the state of Indiana. The last is Brownsburg's Chase Dutra. He's ranked No. 9 in the state and is listed as an athlete.

Three recruits already have enrolled at IU for this semester. They are a pair of junior college transfers from Iowa Western in linebacker Steven Funderburke and defensive tackle Jordan Heiderman. Also, Florida prep linebacker T.J. Simmons has enrolled.

Wilson and his staff cannot comment on recruits until they sign. Wilson, assistant coaches and associate athletic director Jeremy Gray will host a Signing Day Show on BTN.com starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Indiana committed players

Antonio Allen DB

Patrick Dougherty DE

Chase Dutra ATH

Rashard Fant ATH

Danny Friend TE

Stephen Funderburke LB

Myles Graham RB

Isaac Griffith WR

Jordan Heiderman DT

Evan Jansen TE

David Kenney DE

Darius Latham DT

Clyde Newton LB

Marcus Oliver LB

Noel Padmore DB

T.J. Simmons LB

Kristopher Smith LB

Nigel Tribune DB

Anthony Young WR