June 2, 2008

Indiana DT to camp at State?

With the evaluation period just ending, top prospect from across the region are now gearing up for camps. One player who plans to use the camp season as a way to improve his stock and gain more scholarship offers is defensive tackle Jordan Stepp of Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Stepp has had a strong spring picking up not only several scholarship offers, but also MVP awards at multiple camps and combines. The 6-foot-0, 283-pound Stepp was named the top defensive tackle prospect at every event he attended this spring including the NIKE Camp held in Columbus. We asked him about that.

"I think I did real well," he said. "I wanted to go out and prove myself and I think I did just that. Some people have concerns about my height and that just makes me play with a chip on my shoulder."

At 6-foot-0, Stepp is not the tallest defensive tackle prospect, but he pointed out that Rivals.com rates Florida State commitment Jacobbi McDaniel a 5-star prospect and he is no taller than Stepp. When it comes to speed and power Stepp and McDaniel match-up quite well.

Stepp is a workout machine, he has benched pressed 185-pounds and amazing 36 times. He has also put up impressive marks for the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump.

"My profile says I run the forty in 5.28 seconds. That information was from a combine after my freshman year when we ran out in the cold," he said. "I clocked a 4.62 at the combine in Cincinnati a few weeks ago and I have run a 4.70 electronic forty at my school. I have a vertical jump of 31 inches."

Stepp height is probably the main reason that the Big Ten teams have not made him any early offers. Almost every one of them has told him they want to see him at camp before they offer. Stepp indicated that he has no problem with that and is looking forward to dominating more players at the team camps.

"I am going to camp at Iowa, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Indian and I think Michigan State," he said. "All of those schools stopped by my high school and I have spoken with them on the phone. I am confident I will do well."

As far as a timetable for his decision and a favorite, Stepp indicated he was flexible in both.

"Right now I am not saying I have any favorites, I am wide open. As far as making a decision my goal was to have a great senior year, get invited to an All-American game and make my decision there, but I understand that I may have to make my decision before that. If I feel like a school is the best fit for me as far as football and academics then I will make my choice."

Stepp is a player that Spartan staff will surely be looking forward to seeing at camp. While it is true many teams like defensive tackles that are 6'3 or taller, Michigan State Defensive Line Coach Ted Gill has had some outstanding players in his career that are much closer to Stepp's size than say a William Campbell type.

In order for a player of Stepp size to be a Division 1 prospect he has to be extremely powerful and quick. The fact that Stepp has a 400+-pound bench press, a 500+-pound squat and recently clocked a 4.4 shuttle shows that he has the measurable to do just that.

From a scouting standpoint Stepp reminds SpartanMag.com of Josh Allison who signed with CMU in 2007. Allison would have certainly been a BCS scholarship player if his grades were in order sooner. The question college coaches had on Allison was whether he could he get big enough to play defensive tackle and keep his quickness?

The main difference between Stepp and Allison is Stepp already is in the 285-pound range, while Allison was more in the 260-range. Stepp doesn't have to bulk-up and potentially lose speed to play the defensive tackle spot. Look for Stepp to end up playing in college at around 295-pounds.

Stepp's recruitment reminds SpartanaMag.com of a quote a Spartan Coach made about an undersized DT that beat out multiple players who were bigger than him. You can't teach size, but you also can't teach work ethic and desire.

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