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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Indiana college recruiting notebook — Tayven Jackson taps Tennessee, Smith jumps on Purdue offer

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, May 7, 2021, 6:07 pm

Football Commitments 

Center Grove junior quarterback Tayven Jackson earned his fourth recruiting star and then committed to Tennessee last week. The definition of a dual-threat dandy, Jackson (6-foot-5, 195 pounds) threw for 1,756 yards and 17 touchdowns back in the fall for his state-champion (6A) and nationally-ranked Trojans (14-0). He scored six touchdowns on the ground and completed almost 70 percent of his passes. As a sophomore, Jackson quarterbacked Center Grove into the state finals. His style of play on the field reminds many of a young Patrick Mahomes. His pedigree is elite, with his dad being a retired NBA vet (Dale) and his big brother Trayce (IU) on his way to NBA draft status in the near future.

Westfield junior defensive end Popeye Williams committed to Louisville last weekend, pulling one of the best pass-rushing prospects in the Midwest off the board for the Class of ‘22. Williams (6-4, 245) helped take Westfield to an appearance in the 6A state championship game last fall, finishing the season with 50 tackles and six sacks. Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State, Penn State, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin all offered.


Basketball Connections

Purdue plucked a commitment from Westfield junior guard Braden Smith, a high-scoring, spunky and cerebral floor general from the Indianapolis area. Smith dotted the stat sheet for 22 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals in 2021.

Lawrence North point guard Shamar Avance is signing with Miami (Ohio) this week after a brilliant senior campaign leading his squad into the state finals last month. The heady, high-motor Avance was the Marion County Player of the Year, averaging 21 points and almost seven dimes per outing.