Duneland Athletic Conference Alumnis Making a Splash in College FB

Benjamin KimmellContributor IMay 4, 2010

In Indiana, you think of basketball.  You dont really hear much about football and of great players coming from Indiana.  But on the chance that you do hear of this, you tend to hear about these players coming from the Indianapolis metro area or you hear of them from southern Indiana.  Northern Indiana has never truly been known for its high school football athletes. 

Within the past fifteen years however, there has been an influx of talent entering the college football ranks from nothern Indiana.  This area includes the Duneland Athletic Conference, the Allen County Conference, the Great Lakes Athletic Conference, the Greater South Shore Athletic Conference, the Northeast Corner Conference, the Northeast Hoosier Conference, the Northern Indiana Athletic Conference, the Northern Lakes Conference, the Northern State Conference, the Northland Conference, the Northwest Crossroads Conference, and the Northwestern Conference.  Out of these many conferences, there really never had been major football recruits until about fifteens years ago.

There are certain teams who have dominated this area in the past fifteen years, these being Merrillville High School, Penn High School, Fort Wayne Snider High School, LaPorte High School, New Prarie High School, Hobart High School.  These different schools span the vast array of conferences in Northern Indiana.  Though these schools may have been the most dominate over the past decade and a half, there have been great players at many of the northern Indiana schools.

Merrillville High School(Duneland Athletic Conference) is a school that is riding high on the fact that two of its alumni were eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft that was just conducted in late April in which one of the afformentioned players were selected.  These players were Michael Neal, a defensive tackle selected in the 2nd round by the Green Bay Packers, and James Aldridge, an undrafted fullback.  Before their days in major college football, both of these players suited up in the black and purple to play for the Merrillville Pirates every friday in the DAC.  While these two have been the only players from the DAC to be in the NFL Draft since another former Pirate Eugene Wilson, two-time Superbowl Champion with the New England Patriots, there have been other players in this conference that have made an impact not only in the DAC but in the state of Indiana.

Players such as Ryan Fics, former Michigan City High School running back, who was number one in the state of Indiana in scoring his senior year as well as amasing an amazing 2000 yards during that season.  Airrence Shark, a bruisingly large running back from LaPorte, Indiana who led the slicers of LaPorte to the semi-state game in which they lost to the Carmel High School Greyhounds.  Antoine "P-town" Brown, an All-State running back from Portage High School whose play earned him a scholarship to the University of Kentucky despite breaking his leg during his senior campaign. Dexter Larimore, another former Merrillville Pirate monster defensive tackle whose play on the Pirate defensive line earned him a scholarship to the Ohio State University where he is now one of the starting defensive tackles.

This is just a small example of the type of talent that comes from the northern part of the state of Indiana.  Currently there are numerous players in the DAC alone who are currently considering scholarships to major colleges to play football next year.  These include Michigan City High School defensive lineman Ryan Isaac, who is headed to Purdue University in the fall, Lake Central defensive back Seth Fray, Valporaiso inside linebacker Tony Gallinatti, Valporaiso running back Michael Perkins, Michigan City wide reciever Austin Althoff, LaPorte offensive guard Trevor Sales.

Within one conference there is so much talent that not to many people know about.  This alone should prove the ability of the northern half of the state of Indiana.  The Duneland Athletic Conference is full of college level talent and people should start to take notice.