Jaylen Flemmons had offers to play football at Marian, Taylor and University of Indianapolis and a chance to be a walk-on at Purdue, but the chance to possibly earn a scholarship at Ball State was too good a deal for the Columbus North senior.
Flemmons took his official visit to Ball State on Friday and committed to the Cardinals and head coach Mike Neu as a preferred walk-on.
“That’s always been the goal — to play Division I football,” Flemmons said. “Ball State talked like they really wanted me, and they really liked what I could do, and I just think it’s a really good opportunity. I think I’ll be able to play there. The goal is to go up there and end up getting a full ride.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Flemmons led the Bull Dogs with 55 catches for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. He moved to quarterback after starter Trenton Kelley was injured on the opening drive of North’s sectional final loss at Center Grove and completed 19 of 39 passes for 276 yards and two scores.
As a junior, Flemmons caught 38 passes for 465 yards and eight touchdowns. But he missed four games in the middle of the season with a groin injury.
“That was the biggest setback for colleges,” Flemmons said. “But then I had a big senior season, and I was always hoping one of them would offer. But Ball State was the first one that was really, really interested.”
Flemmons and his mother, Summer Barkes, spent most of Friday talking with coaches at Ball State. Flemmons has other family members about a half-hour away from Muncie in Marion, including his father Jovon Flemmons.
Flemmons also talked to Bull Dogs freshman coach Ray Gipson, whose son Keenan Noel played nose tackle at Ball State a few years ago. At the same time, the Cardinals had a couple of other North graduates in quarterback Kyle Kamman and wide receiver Chris Schillings.
“I really liked (Ball State’s) wide receivers coach (Alex Bailey),” Flemmons said. “All their coaches were friendly. I really like the campus, and my mom likes it because she went to school there. I like how Ball State is big, and they have what I want to major in.”
Flemmons wants to go into medicine or aeronautical engineering. He hopes to eventually work for NASA.
A three-sport athlete, Flemmons also is the leading scorer and rebounder on the Bull Dog basketball team. Last spring, he was a regional track qualifier in the 400 meters and ran on North’s school-record setting and state-qualifying 4×100 relay team.
His football coach, Tim Bless, has no doubt that Flemmons can play at Ball State.
“That’s where his heart was leading him to go,” Bless said. “As we saw on Friday nights the last couple of years, I’m not going to put anything past Jaylen Flemmons.”