Georgia CB Rashard Fant commits to IU


Georgia four-star cornerback Rashard Fant has committed to Indiana according to his father Randy, giving the Hoosiers their third recruit of that caliber in the Class of 2013 with the possibility of more to come.

Fant, a 5-foot-10, 165-pounder from Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fairburn, Ga., picked the Hoosiers ahead of scholarship offers from Florida State, Kentucky, Mississippi and Utah among others.

Fant’s father said that Rashard had always considered his dream school and even though the Seminoles had offered him a scholarship and seem to be undergoing a renaissance as the No. 12 team in the country, Fant still kept his eyes open and liked what he saw from Indiana.

“I think it was a personal thing with Rashard,” Randy Fant said. “He’s the type of young man that’s not easily swayed by logos and trinkets and rankings. That’s not him. He doesn’t have to play at the powerhouses out here. He plays at a program that won two games his first year and had never had a winning season before. Now they’re going on their third winning season. Florida State was his dream school, but that didn’t keep him from looking at other options.”

One thing that swayed Fant was his relationship with cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby.

“They didn’t talk a lot about what Rashard was doing on the field, but they talked a lot about (Shelby’s) schemes and techniques and how he trains his DB’s,” Randy Fant said. “… Coach Shelby is a younger guy. He’s not too far removed from being on the field. He did a lot of good things at Oklahoma. Rashard is a big internet dude. He does a lot of research on people and places and things. He looked into coach Shelby and thought this was a guy who could help him get better.”

Fant is the 12th member of Indiana’s Class of 2013. He joins two other four-star recruits in Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen and Pike defensive end David Kenney. The Hoosiers are also very much in the running for North Central defensive tackle Darius Latham, who recently de-committed from Wisconsin, and Avon defensive end Elijah Daniel, who is still committed to Clemson.

In Fant, Shelby will certainly be getting an extremely talented player to work with. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder has posted a 4.48 40-yard dash time according to Rivals.com and a 4.11 shuttle run time. That speed has made him dangerous as a cover corner, wide receiver and kick returner at Our Lady of Mercy.

“I could tell you without a doubt that in 26 years of coaching, he’s the fastest player I’ve ever coached,” said third-year Our Lady of Mercy coach Mike Earwood, who said he’s coached more than 50 players in Division I schools in a lengthy coaching career at Georgia public schools. “They are getting a tremendous amount of speed with him. They are getting a guy who is extremely dangerous on kickoffs and punt returns. Nobody has kicked it to him in the last two seasons. If he gets the ball in his hands, it’s going to be a touchdown.”

It hasn’t always been easy to get it to him, Earwood said, especially after he took back a combined seven kickoffs and punts back for touchdowns in the first three games of last season. Since then, opponents have punted the ball out of bounds, on-side kicked and squibbed to make sure he doesn’t get the ball in his hands. Our Lady of Mercy’s passing game is such that it’s been difficult to get him the ball that way, so the squad has used an array of jet sweeps and has also used him as a wildcat quarterback.

But on defense, he has done just as good of a job at keeping the ball out of opposing receivers hands.

“They don’t throw his way,” Earwood said. “… He’s got great ball skills. He makes a smooth transition out of his backpedal. His ability and his speed to break and close on receivers. His man skills are really good. He can play press coverage and bump-and-run. He’s very gifted in that department.”

The one potential knock on Fant is his size. He’s listed at 5-10, 160 pounds, and Earwood said he’s not the most physical, violent hitter even though he does step up to stop the run. However, Earwood said Fant’s frame is such that he can easily put on additional weight and can become a more powerful defender and tackler without losing any of that speed.

“He’s got great muscle mass,” Earwood said. “In that 160 pounds, there’s not an ounce of fat. He’s cut from granite. He’s well put together. He’s got a sprinter’s body. He’s got really wide, broad shoulders. And he’s still growing. I’d say he can gain another inch or inch and a half. I can tell you his size hasn’t scared anyone off.”
It certainly didn’t scare off the Hoosiers, even though Florida State almost did.

UPDATE, 10:50 p.m. Fant said that while the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff were critical in his commitment, so too was the encouragement he got from other Indiana commits.

Fant said he had several conversations with Fort Wayne Homestead wide receiver Isaac Griffith, Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen and Pike defensive end David Kenney, who made a hard pitch for why he should come to Bloomington.

“They told me Indiana is home for them,” Fant said. “But they also saw a team that wasn’t really noticed and was coming up on the map and could use a little help. And they all thought, why not have this Class of 2013 be the one that puts them on the map.”

That resonated with Fant because at Our Lady of Mercy, he joined a program that had won nine games in 10 years before his sophomore year, but then went 7-3 and 6-4 in his sophomore and junior year and has a 4-4 record now with a good chance of reaching the Georgia state playoffs for the first time.

But so too did the words of Shelby, who impressed Fant by coming to one of his games the night before the Hoosiers had a noon game themselves.

“He came down to watch me play, and no other coach had really done that,” Fant said. “And he had a game, a noon game, the next day. I was like, ‘Man, this guy really wants me.”

 

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72 comments:

  • Mike P. says:

    I need to research this kid, but to pull a 4 star player from an SEC state is huge for this staff. Hard not to be a little excited about this.

  • jonnyhoosier says:

    this is huge. I’m pretty sure Latham is going to choose Indiana, but if we could get Daniel……………..DUDE

  • Chris K. says:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! He’s a talented versatile athlete, I mentioned him as a possibility a couple of weeks ago when I went on teh Rivals.com rant, most of all he’s highly rated, & I think the more 4 star guys we gat, the more 4 STAR GUYS WE’LL GET! Sometimes , perception is reality when trying to whoo these kids, & signing Fant is only going to help in more ways than 1. It’s happening boys(& girls)!!!!!

  • What says:

    Am I…Am I being punk’d? If so, just tell me know before this spirals out of your control, Dustin.

  • DCM says:

    As always with with verbal commitments, bring on signing day

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    Coach Shelby and Fabris were the lead recruiters. They got him to verbal w/o a visit. Has run a best 4.37 40 and a shuttle of 4.11. Serious #’s for a Jr/Sr. in HS. In watching his video every run, kick return or catch he made he was putting more and more separation between himself and the closest defender. This is the type of recruit IU has needed forever. Is projected to be a WR/CB/KR/PR combo in Bloomington.

  • Mike C says:

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that highly regarded recruits are sensing that something special is right around the corner at IU. CKW and his staff are doing a tremendous job of selling this program. Apparently, this highly competitive very young team looks more and more attractive to these potential highly thought of recruits. This team is sooooooooo close to winning and these kids that are being recruited apparently want to be a part of turning this program around. Go Hoosiers.

  • I and U says:

    It looks like the more we lose the more attractive the program becomes. Yay!

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Google Fant’s name and you’ll see a listing of videos, including a highlight video 20 minutes long that shows him in all facets of his game. This is a serious athlete who can do a number of things very well, offensively and defensively. His speed is impressive and so are his instincts. His coach is right, he does hit bigger than his size.

    Very much worth watching some of these videos.

    Can’t say enough about the sense that our entire vision of Hoosier football is being changed, beginning with a change of culture that redefines ‘winner’ for us as it strives to slowly but surely reach the levels of Hoosier basketball, soccer, swimming.

  • Dunbar says:

    TTG, nothing has changed. Let’s see how many of these guys actually sign in February, which is a LONG way away. IU will be coming off of a 1-win season followed by a 2-win season, with not a single B1G victory…will this scare these kids away? I don’t care how they talk now, let’s see how they feel in February. And if they do make it to Btown, will they be any good? Too many “big shots” have tanked at IU to think otherwise. Things change ONLY when IU gets some W’s on the field. Until then, everything else is just noise.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    TTG, I think these young recruits all ready know last years record and have factored in the possibilities for this seasons record. Regardless of W-L records they are seeing improvement on the field and the playing time young talented guys can earn immediately at IU. to their thinking it is a win/win situation with this coaching staff in place.

  • Harvard for Hillibilles says:

    Keep the “They’ve got great families. Christian families” comments coming, coach Wilson. I would add a wholesome Sunday school comment at every press conference.

    Appears all this good recruiting news came on the heels of taking a page from Tom Crean’s playbook.

    Start tweeting Joyce Meyer and quoting Jack Graham and maybe we’ll land some big Christian farm boys from Nebraska taller than corn and wider than a plow.

    I like this strategy. Christ sells.

  • Caleb Moore says:

    I cant sit here and put my head in the sand and say unless we start winning a game or two that we should win some of these guys wont have second thoughts. It’s just happened too many times to be that naive no matter how big a fan I am. This team is really close in most of these losses and I think, for whatever reason (Woo Woo must be a hell of a salesman along with Chase), these guys are seeing the greener side. I hope we give them reason to close down any other options.

  • Podunker says:

    Good coaching, great facilities, a very competitive BCS conference, a great campus, solid academics, and an opportunity to play immediately. What’s not to like?

    If a football player goes to a top SEC or other top BCS-Conference school (like FSU), he’ll be one of many four and five star athletes in his recruiting class. Given Fant’s size, he may be considering, that at those top programs, the risk of not getting significant playing time for a couple of years. And he may appreciate that the next recruiting class at those top rated programs will include even more competition at his position. That’s the rub when a talented young man commits to a top ten football program. The competition for playing time is extreme. What a lot of people don’t really appreciate is that the transfer rates for a lot of those top ten teams is very high. You might be a two-time All State player in High School and find yourself fourth or fifth on the college team’s depth chart as a freshman and sophomore! Heck, you may never get a chance to play on anything other than special teams. Why delay your opportunity to play, and risk injury being a tackling dummy for a couple of years, when you have a great chance of being an immediate starter and getting experience and exposure at a school like IU?

    This is exciting news for IU football. Let’s hold the champaign until February 3rd, but feel confident that the recent news suggests that recruiting is moving in the right direction.

  • Chris K. says:

    I also have concerns about keeping these committments, but remember this, the guys that flip, Fant obviously not included, are pretty much safe in my mind, cuz’ it’s not often kids flip twice, Stunner Kiel not included. That is built in security, noone wants to look that wishy washy, indecisive, or basicsally just like a dipS#$t!

  • Chris K. says:

    In addition, yeah we’ve had a lot of guys flip on us over the years, but we’ve never had this many even give verbals to begin with. I would think the odds are in our favor.

  • Podunker says:

    HforH; What’s with the sarcastic comments whenever an IU coach makes a reference to Christianity? What’s the problem with making a reference to a person’s faith? Did I miss the new law that says people in the public eye must run all their comments through a secular filter? Is it now politically incorrect to refer to a person’s religion, or is it only a problem when that person is referred to as a Christian? Would you have made the same comments had Wilson referred to a player as having come from a good Jewish family? What about a good Muslim family? Is your problem with references to religion in general or just references to Christianity?

    I agree that referring to a person’s religion is unnecessary and should be irrelevant, but it’s also harmless. I don’t get offended when I hear people make references to their faith or anyone else’s faith, unless their comment represents an attack on a person’s faith. I just don’t care about such references. I’m just curious, why do you?

  • Chris K. says:

    Actually Podunker, & I’M NOT 1 OF THEM 1st of all, but some people do get offended at the mention of religion, faith, etc..some people have very strong feelingd, in erevry direction regarding religion, any type of religion. I don’t care, nit calling you wrong, I just know people that would/do take offense to the mention of it..unfortunaltely. To sum it all up? IMHO? I take offense to people that take offense to things that I find so petty , and try discourage others from doing & saying things that I find harmless. In other words, I hate PC! Just my opinion.

  • Harvard for Hillibilles says:

    It may be harmless and his right…I just think it’s completely unnecessary. There is plenty of division in the world based on religious fanaticism.

    Please tell me the last tweet from Tom Crean that spoke of good Muslims, Jews, and their family principles.

    Quit playing the fool. Religion has no place in selling your own virtue to a teenager signing up to play a game of football or basketball at a public institution(personally, I think it’s just as irrelevant at a Catholic or any other private school of any faith/belief/denomination).

    Treat people like you want to be treated. Be decent for decency sake. Be kind without the emptiness your only action from your hollow heart is a fear in a righteous judgment of another man’s invention. Let your god take care of the rest.

  • southport 65 says:

    HH you are the one making a big deal about Being a Christian. I don’t hear other Christians
    ragging on you because your not. I agree this should be about sports and the kids so why don’t you practice what you preach and don’t bring it up. Let it go if it makes no difference to you anyway. If it does to the players and coaches that it their right. They are not asking you to join in but you do anyway as a slam on our players and coaches. You have a right to your opinion and we have all heard it enough already!

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Dunbar…sorry you feel that way; and that you feel the compulsion to rain on the up-mood that some good news on the football front are bringing. Not sure what is behind the negative tones in most of your posts but, personally, I do sense solid progress particularly in changing the generally depressed ‘Pigpen’ grey cloud that has surrounded our fans for far too long.

    BTW, the cloud that pursued Pigpen was not a rain cloud but a dust cloud, suggestive of his nearly eternal grey outlook on life. Even when Pigpen played in snow, the snow would quickly turn grey.

    It’s also a matter of choosing. I love IU and would do so even if we went another 10 years without a good football team. But, I am also a rational and, I believe, thoughtful and informed football fan. I was encouraged when we hired Hoepp, somewhat dubious with passing the baton to Lynch simply because I thought he did not have the qualities and strengths the job required (in fact, I thought we were very unfair to Lynch by putting him in that situation) and very convinced- even before the choice was made- that someone with exactly Kevin Wilson’s background, expertise, experience and creativity within his field, reputation for developing players, organizational skills, eye for talent and clear standards would be willing to take a chance on us as a career move. AD Glass handled it masterfully…and here we are, seeing some hope where we previously had none. It will take time but I feel the turnaround is near (though possibly not instantly). There’s no need to be so depressed Dunbar, unless it is a basic part of your character and personality. Of course, then, defeatism is a self-fulfilling condemnation.. Really do hope you can overcome it. It can’t be fun. Certainly, not as much as I am having hoping.

  • Harvard for Hillibilles says:

    It’s my alma mater. I don’t feel this righteous culture was present at IU during my years of attendance. Maybe I was just doing too much weed to notice..

    I’m not sure the purpose or motive behind all the Christian references…Is it just the manifestation of societal movement…a Bible Belt movement? Is the Bible Belt swallowing a Bloomington that somehow remained decades outside the realm its influence because leadership that refused to politicize and be manipulated by faith? Is it the product of having horrible and evil men like Kelvin Sampson and now we’re going through a cleansing or public exorcism of sorts?..Did we stray from Christ by way of these terrible men that stole our sports mojo?

    Why should I want my memories of a university I always believed a breeding ground for acceptance and challenged thoughts now be poisoned with bigotry?

    I think the comment by Wilson was strange at best. It didn’t appear natural within the context of discussing which QB has earned a starting role on a football team. It sounded manufactured and disingenuous…Then again, nearly every figure serving in authoritative positions that offer up comments regarding religion or their seemingly supreme faith of choice usually leaves me with feelings of distrust.

    I don’t think tongues should be strangled..I don’t think this has anything to do with carefulness or political correctness. I think the statement was manufactured and that’s where my distaste for such actions resides.

    No different than Murdock’s recent comments. Indiana has enough image of unyielding backward blowhards living in the days of cavalry and bayonets…Our institutions always seemed separated from the intolerance and cultural time warp generally portrayed by the media of my homeland. We are the state of Dan Quayle comparing himself to Robert Kennedy..We are the state of Murdock wanting to have control of a woman’s choice in a brutal rape…Now we want to sell ourselves as having the sole favors of Christ in the corner at our public institutions when the opposition comes up against us on football fields and basketball courts…?

    Sorry, I’m just trying to understand why we have such a low self esteem that we need to subjugate women and litigate the womb(yet never vote for one public dollar spent to support an unwanted child abandoned by society), cozy up to Christ as if he’s only our best friend, and cheapen ourselves in shallow hypocrisy with such narrow judgments a family being “good” simply because they’re Christian…

    I personally don’t believe Wilson is from the world of Dan Quayle…If he is, I say we send him back to Oklahoma or up to Purdue where he belongs. I thought we were getting something less than superficial with this man. I hold out hope, but it is dwindling.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    I don’t want to get in the middle of this one (being from a good Christian family and all), but it seems to me HofH you are being just as much of a religious zealot in your antagonism to any mention of Christian beliefs than the most belligerent of Christian soldiers on this blog.

    I also think you are too smart not to know that the reference to ‘good Christian family’ is a reference to the content of the recruit’s family’s value system; to do no harm, to honor his word, to be open and truthful, to respect others, to be principled, etc. What surprises me even more is that while I may understand you make your statement in support of your value of openly supporting the ‘freedom of (all) thought (and speech and press…) we all support;, your comments actually violate in a very mocking and violent way that very concept of freedom of expression you are attempting to sustain. I’m surprised, mostly by the fact that your passion and biases do not allow you to see the contradiction with your own beliefs.

    Just be…and let be HofH. You’re best when that is your mantra.

    Now,I have to return a grandson of this good Judeo-Christian family. God Bless HofH. (not being sarcastic, really God Bless).

  • Harvard for Hillibilles says:

    I don’t care if they’re the sons of jackals if they can throw a football and move a team down field.

    We are all flawed and I tire of the pretense a faith bequeaths one man superior to another.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    HofH- Just read your #22. It’s my alma mater as well and I have no problem with the expression (nor would I have a problem if Wilson had said ‘he’s from a good Muslim family’ as long as it was a reference to a solid set of values represented in this kid.

    Shortly before I sat down to read the blog I had been watching the controversy over Murdoch. To put it in context, I was and am a very solid and disappointed Lugar supporter and admirer. Still, I thought Murdoch has every right to believe as he does without having it thrown in his face that he somehow supports the heinous act of rape.

    He’s merely voicing that the life of the child is the life of the child, a creation of life by God. That is his belief, God’s will put life in the woman, however it was given to her and the blessing is to humanity for receiving and caring for the child (innocent of everything) and having a God-given right to be loved by all of us. (May I add, be the rapist father rot in Hell to the end of days- though that’s in God’s judgment as well).

    When I was two I caught polio. It paralyzed me for many years, eventually was able to regain mobility and enjoy a nearly normal (by man’s norms) and, as I get older, some of the vestiges of the polio make themselves evident again and I gradually lose mobility. What Grace by God that I had the polio, what a gift! What a gift that I was able to overcome some of its aftermath to whatever degree I overcame it! How enjoyable a life it has bee. I was thinking the other day, without the polio my life would have been totally different. I would have probably married differently, had two different children, five different grandchildren…I wouldn’t trade you one hair on their heads or one second in my life. God Blessed me with it. As He Blessed mes with many of the other circumstances in my life that now constitute the whole of who I am. This is not bible thumping…in fact, I look at myself and my thoughts and conclude that God has a big sense of humor. So back to Murdoch’s statement (damn! Lugar should have won)…however conceived is our life and we must love it and respect it and nurture it equally…

    You know how grateful I am that when my dad first took me to the hospital when I contracted polio he refused to take the first recommendation to ‘put me in bed and let me die in peace’…?

    God loves the child HofH…even (though you my not believe this) the one in you.

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