The MIC is a big time football conference that seems to produce top college talent every year. One of the schools responsible for that is Center Grove, a team just one year removed from a state championship.
Defensive end Joel Hale was a sophomore on that team and played only sparingly in that game, but he burst onto the scene last year, recording four sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. His size (6'5, 290) gives schools a couple possibilities as to where to play him.
"Georgia Tech wants me at a defensive end spot," Hale said. "They run a 3-4, so that's basically a defensive tackle almost. Cincinnati wants me to move down to a three technique. Kentucky said three-tech and if that didn't work out, I'd move to the offensive side of the ball."
Hale says he played some offense last season, in a jumbo package the Trojans used. The offers have been steady lately and he added two recently, the latest coming from the Wisconsin Badgers.
"Well. I think I found out on Tuesday, and they called Coach Moore and told him. He informed me and then I got the letter on Friday. I called my recruiting coordinator, Coach Ash. I talked to him. He said that I was receiving an offer and they would love to get me up on campus."
The last offer before that was Kentucky, a school Hale has become quite familiar with.
"I've been down on campus three times, so I know what the campus looks like and the coaching staff. I like the facilities. They are pretty nice. I really like the people down there. Coach Smith, I like him a lot."
The Wildcats were also his last visit. Another recent offer was Michigan State, but the college visits have taken their toll on him and he plans to slow it down and wait to check out East Lansing.
"Haven't gotten a chance to go up there yet. Over summer months, I'll try to get up there. I've missed so much school the last nine weeks, it's been hard on me. I'll wait until summer months to get on campus. I like thought of Michigan State, I just have to get up there and see the school and meet the coaches."
Hale's spring break is coming up and he will take that chance to visit some schools while not having to miss any days of class.
"This week, I'm going down to Florida for spring break. I'm stopping by Gainesville on the way down. They called [Center Grove head] Coach [Eric] Moore and wanted me to give them a call. I called, talked to them and they said they'd love to get me down on campus and go from there. I'm also, on my way back, stopping by Atlanta and going to see Georgia Tech."
Georgia Tech has a former Center Grove player, quarterback Jordan Luallen on their roster. Hale and Luallen played together for one season and still keep in some contact.
In addition to the Gators, there are several schools who have not offered yet, but are showing lots of interest. They include Iowa, Boston College and Ohio State.
"Ohio State, that's a big one. I went to Ohio State not too long ago and came back. I keep in touch with Doc Tressel. Every now and then, I give them a call. They said I'm right there, they just don't know when that will turn into a scholarship offer."
Hale says this summer, he will likely only take visits rather than participate in camps at each of his stops. However, he admits he would make an exception if the Buckeyes have not offered by then. Once the summer dust has settled, he is hoping he will be almost ready to make a decision.
"I want to try to say something before season, but I mean, if I don't feel like something's right then I'll wait it out. Being a lineman, it's a little different, but my biggest fear is the injury factor. I don't want to lose my scholarship due to injury, but with a lineman it's a little bit different.
Center Grove (Ind.) is a school with a couple college prospects this year. The best of the bunch may be big defensive lineman Joel Hale, who now holds nine scholarship offer and has a couple of big time schools in position to add more.