June 19, 2008

Florida ATH is Big Ten bound

Following the Gainesville Nike Camp in April, Ishmael Aristide was one of the hottest names in Florida recruiting. The Orlando (Fla.) Evans athlete competed at cornerback and put on a show as one of the most complete corners at the event. Things have cooled off considerably since that day, due primarily to three letters: ACL. An ACL tear on the first full contact day of spring practice has scared away most of the programs recruiting him, except one.

On Wednesday evening, Aristide rewarded Purdue for sticking by his scholarship offer by committing to Purdue.

"I just got off the phone with Jeremy Gallon (Michigan commit out of Apopka) and told him I'm going to be whooping his butt in the Big Ten," Aristide said on Wednesday evening.

Admittedly, the injury changed up the process for Aristide, but nonetheless, he is happy with his future home.

"It's a situation where Purdue was already one of my top schools before I got hurt," he said. "I'm excited about it. If I wouldn't have torn my ACL I may not have committed this early because I may have gotten a Miami or a Florida State offer but am I excited? Yeah. Because I can play early. They like me. They think I'm aggressive. They saw my clips from the Nike camp and said I was locking down some pretty good receivers. I like the set up there. It's a quiet area and I pretty much like it."

With well over a year to recover from his ACL injury before his freshman season in West Lafayette, Aristide should have plenty of time to return to the form that placed him 10th in the 100 meters at the Florida state track meet. His 10.7 100 meter speed allows him to be an asset in the return game as well as in the defensive backfield. In fact it was in the return game that Aristide heard that fateful "pop".

"I was in spring practice," he explained. "It was the first day we were in full pads and I was back deep in kick returns. I took the ball and I cut. My body went and my knee didn't. It was very painful. I tore my ACL and my meniscus. It's a very difficult thing mentally and physically."

Following the injury, what was shaping up to be a very busy spring, slowed down considerably.

"I had the whole Big 12, ACC, SEC at my school in the summer," he said. "I had some schools telling me that they were ready to offer. Things were kind of crazy. Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and then for a lot of them, after they heard about the surgery I would hear nothing but silence at the other end of the phone. It was a tough situation but I still got an opportunity."

Though schools such as Vanderbilt and Cincinnati were still very much recruiting Aristide and hoping to steal him out of the Sunshine State, the speedy athlete will instead head to Big Ten country with a new determination and a chip on his shoulder.



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