College football programs value versatility. They recruit athletes capable of playing multiple positions and then find a home for them once they’re on campus.
Ben VanSumeren fits that mold. He does so more than most.
The Class of 2018 prospect from Essexville (MI) Garber High plays quarterback, receiver, tight end, defensive end and linebacker. He’s being recruited at all of those positions.
Iowa stepped forward with a scholarship offer last week. The Hawkeyes see him as a linebacker. He likes the idea.
“I love playing football. I just love playing football, flying around and hitting kids. I feel like linebacker is going to give me a great opportunity to do that,” VanSumeren told HN.
Iowa has been building a relationship with VanSumeren (6-3, 225). It visited Garber twice in the spring, he attended a satellite camp in Detroit this summer and the Hawkeyes scouted his game recently.
“I hoped an offer was coming. I’d wanted an offer from Iowa for awhile,” he said. “I really like the tradition there. The coaches are great. They also have a big fan base.”
VanSumeren said he’s hearing from Iowa assistants Phil Parker, Seth Wallace and Kelvin Bell on a consistent basis. He’s planning on visiting soon, perhaps during the week of Oct. 23.
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Western Michigan picked up a verbal commitment from VanSumeren in February. After thinking about things, he stepped away from that pledge in May.
Most of the MAC schools, Cincinnati and Missouri have offered scholarships. He held one from Minnesota, but the Gophers have filled up their class. He’s visited Purdue and Cincinnati this season.
“I might go out to see Cal. They’ve talked to me recently,” he said.
After committing somewhere only to realize he wanted to check out more places, VanSumeren isn’t in a hurry to commit. He also doesn’t want to drag out the process.
“I’m just trying to find the best fit. I have to go see some places and then evaluate what’s going to be the best place for me. As far as a commitment date, I would like for it to be soon instead of signing day or later in the winter, but we’ll just have to see how things play out. I would say I’m pretty wide open,” he said.
VanSumeren has decided on possible college majors. He’s down to Sports Management or Exercise Science.
“Those are two pretty popular majors. So, if a school doesn’t have one, they usually have the other,” he said.
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VanSumeren, who also plays baseball, has proven he’s a good athlete during testing. At the Cleveland Opening in April, he posted a SPARQ score of 127.74, the best among receivers and tight ends. He recorded the top vertical jump of 40.3 inches.
For some reason, the recruiting services don’t appear convinced VanSumeren is a Power 5 player despite his numbers and interest from that level. Perhaps its because they’re unsure of position. The 247 Network ranks him as a three-star and only the No. 47 athlete nationally, while Rivals sees him as a two-star.
Here’s a look at VanSumeren’s highlights from the first six games of this season. They’re pretty impressive: