Who’s next?

Junior QB Tyler Cherry navigates the recruitment process


Sam Findley

Junior Tyler Cherry looks to snap the ball in the state title game against Carroll on Nov. 25. The Trojans won 35-9.

Gourav Pany, Website Editor

It won’t stop buzzing.

Sitting in his Geometry class, junior Tyler Cherry should be focusing on triangle proofs and circle theorems. But Cherry isn’t.

Every time his phone vibrates, it could be a text from another Big Ten school offering him a scholarship. It could be his Twitter, blowing up at the latest news on Cherry’s recruitment process. Or it could just be a text from one of his wide receivers, asking him if they were still running throwing drills that evening.

Whatever the case may be, nothing can be known until Cherry picks up that phone. Such is the life of the highly-touted Center Grove quarterback. 

Distracting as it may be, Cherry’s notifications are something he has had to deal with since the end of the football season, when the Trojans beat Carroll to win their third state title in a row.

Cherry guided the team to a state title, throwing for 22 touchdowns to only five interceptions, which caught the attention of college coaches, including Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Toledo and Indiana University.

“So the quarterback coach [of IU] offered me [a scholarship], and then I called [head coach] Tom Allen, so it was pretty cool, just like talking about ‘hey we really want you and we’ll give you a full-ride scholarship’, so it was pretty crazy. He came and saw me throw; after that night he called me,” Cherry said.

One of the things that makes Indiana University stand out to Cherry is the presence of Center Grove alum Tayven Jackson, who led the Trojans to two state titles and recently transferred to IU from Tennessee after his freshman college season.

“I think [playing with Tayven Jackson] in high school worked out pretty well so I wouldn’t mind doing it again in college. I mean, a full ride to IU, a power 5 Big Ten, it’s pretty cool,” Cherry said. “I think their quarterback room has four guys right now; one is an incoming freshman, two redshirt freshmen, and a sophomore so I’ll be five. I don’t think that’s too bad; some of the schools have seven, eight which is quite a few. I just want to go somewhere where I actually see the field at some point and that’s how you get to the next level.”

Another factor in Cherry’s interest in IU is his family’s connection with the program; his grandfather was an offensive lineman for the Hoosiers and his mother attended the university as well.

“[My grandpa] likes IU. I know he likes IU but he also wants it to be the best fit for me and with IU they’re kind of down right now but if they can start to build up I think that’ll definitely be the place he wants me to go,” Cherry said. “My mom went to IU, too, but she is just like everybody else; just wants me to find the best fit with playing and school.”

Cherry’s family plays a part in his recruitment process as well, which has aided in increasing college interest in him.

“My mom definitely likes to listen in on the calls sometimes and see how I’m responding to stuff and bring up some talking points if I need some help,” Cherry said. “Some of the coaches like to talk to your parents as well, so I think talking to my parents is good for them, just figuring out their coaching style and what their personality is.”

Another key figure in Cherry’s recruitment is football head coach Eric Moore, who said he regularly contacts coaches by sending them game film and setting up players’ recruiting profiles, which has led to more opportunities for Cherry.

“I think Coach Moore is definitely the biggest one to help,” Cherry said. “He has so many connections. Anywhere I want to go to college, he can just give them a call and let them know about me. I think Coach Moore is definitely the main one that gets the job done and talks to coaches for me.”

Part of Cherry getting recruited by his desired schools is fielding offers from smaller schools and building up from there to get the big name colleges to offer him a scholarship.

“I’ve got a couple calls coming up with a couple of Power 5 schools. I don’t know how many more offers I’ll get. I hope I get some more, but I’m sure some more MAC schools will try,” Cherry said. “I think that big guys will start coming once they see all the smaller divisions and schools. Coach Moore always says ‘you’ve gotta get the little ones to bite and the big ones will go for you as well.’” 

Though Cherry possesses visible athletic traits with his 6’5”, 205 pound frame, the intangibles he has shown on the field in just his first year starting are what sets him apart from the rest of his recruiting class. 

“His best trait as a quarterback is his accuracy. As a person his biggest strength is his intelligence,” Moore said. “He never gets too upset; he never gets too high or too low. He has incredible game savvy, he’s extremely intelligent and he throws an accurate ball. It’s hard for a high school kid to be as accurate as he is. You can tell that by him having about 2400 yards and three or four interceptions with twenty touchdowns [when] a lot of times you’ll have 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.”

Cherry plans to reach a decision quickly to avoid missing out on a desirable spot in the college of his choice and to focus on building on a junior season that saw him earn a spot on the 2022 Indiana junior All-State team.

“I kind of think the goal is to have this all squared away before the season starts. Usually the big five-star recruits kind of wait until senior season, but I think playing quarterback is definitely different and important to have it squared away because there’s only so many Power 5 or D1 schools in the country,” Cherry said. “There’s a ton of offers out and people will start biting, more will go commit, and once a couple of guys commit, all the others start. Usually they take one quarterback per school for the class, so you don’t want to lose your spot because you waited too long, so I want to secure a spot somewhere which wants me.”

Until then, the phone will keep buzzing. Maybe it is a text from his father, asking him when he will be home. Maybe it is a notification from Twitter, informing him of the likes on his latest post. Or maybe, just maybe, it is a text from a D1 program, letting him know that they are planning to pursue him in their future quarterback plans.

Whatever the case, Cherry will never know what it is until he picks up his phone.

Sam Findley contributed to this article