It doesn’t hurt when a college football scholarship offer comes straight from the head coach.
That’s what Winchester star Kiante Enis got Thursday when he found himself in Ball State coach Pete Lembo’s office on a visit to the campus just 30 minutes from home.
“It was kind of just a meeting with coach Lembo,” Enis said. “It was me and him and (Winchester) coach (Mike) Jones. Him explaining everything about campus and all the expectations and everything here at Ball State. Then he kind of just offered.
“It was pretty cool.”
Enis’ recruitment took off last fall when Indiana extended an early offer. Since then, he’s picked up offers from Western Michigan and Miami, the latter within a few minutes of arriving at the RedHawks’ junior day, Jones said.
Enis said in addition to the offers, he’s had heavy interest coming in from both Louisville and Michigan, and he plans to visit both of them.
But Thursday was about seeing the school close to home.
Jones and Enis got to tour campus early in the day, led by a familiar face. Tilmon Clark is a Winchester alum, part of the 10-1 team in 2004, and Ball State’s director of player personnel.
“The whole experience was wonderful,” Jones said. “Coach Lembo is a great guy. Hats off to coach Clark for doing a great job taking us around. Coach (Keith) Gaither, the wide receivers coach is a super guy, made a big impression on Kiante. Just appreciate everybody’s time, coach (Justin) Lustig, the running backs coach.
“I thought they handled themselves first class.”
Enis said he’d known Clark and BSU recruiting coordinator Nick Siatras before and got to meet with much of the rest of the staff after meeting with Lembo. Talking with all those coaches is key, because with his skills, it’s not exactly clear where he will play.
He’s strong and extremely fast at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He could develop into a safety with excellent range, but he could also find a home on offense. He met with Gaither and Lustig because he has the build to either stay at running back, which he plays at Winchester, or move to receiver.
His credentials as a runner are not in doubt after his 3,189 yards as a junior ranked fourth on the state’s all-time single-season rushing list, while his 312 points was seventh. On defense, he had 42 tackles and four interceptions.
That was only Enis’ second season on the football field, as he didn’t play his freshman year, partially to avoid getting hurt for basketball. The cousin of Penn State star and No. 5 overall draft pick Curtis Enis is averaging 22.3 points for the Winchester basketball team and holds a basketball offer from IPFW.
With one Big Ten offer and the looming interest from power programs in Louisville and Michigan, it seems Enis’ recruiting process is heating up. But he now has the option to stay close if he wants to, with those close to him just nearby.
“It’s really great,” Enis said. “It’s not that far from home, and I’m familiar with the location. Also it would be great for my grandma and grandpa and my little brother, along with my friends and the rest of my family to be able to come and experience me playing at the next level.”