BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Most of Indiana’s freshman class recruits have had to make their college choices without receiving official visits or even meeting their coaches face-to-face due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For tight end Aaron Steinfeldt, it really wasn’t a problem. As a native of Bloomington, who stood out for three sports at nearby Bloomington North High School, he had already spent enough time on campus and in person with his future coaches to feel very comfortable. He’s had many conversations with head coach Tom Allen, offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan and tight ends coach Kevin Wright.
And now, along with all of his classmates on campus, he’s sort of a tour guide, helping fellow newcomers adjust to Bloomington after never seeing him on any sort of tour.
Hometown advantage, sure helps.
“I’ve been able to see the campus the entire time so I think I’m ahead of the game because I know everything,” said Steinfeldt, who is already 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. “I saw what Indiana is like behind the scenes and got to speak with Coach Allen, Coach Kevin Wright and Coach Sheridan in person.
“It’s been nice to be from here because I can see where everything is, what to eat, what not to eat, and find out how to become an Indiana athlete. Before, I was a kid who didn’t. than playing sports in high school in Bloomington, but now I’m an athlete from Indiana so I was shown behind the scenes and how to prepare for the school year. I’m ready. ”
Steinfeldt is joining a tight room that’s full of experienced players, so his need to deliver on match days isn’t critical this season. It’s about learning, growing and learning the game.
Peyton Henderson and Matt Bjorson have spent a lot of time playing over the past two years, transfer graduates Kham Taylor has a year under his belt and AJ Barner spent a lot of time in special teams a year ago.
Steinfeldt has a lot to learn from veterans.
“The tight ends in our room are just great guys overall,” Steinfeldt said Thursday when he met local media for the first time. “All of them, I connected with. Guys like AJ (Barner), Matt Bjorson Peyton (Hendershot), Kham (Taylor), they just did a great job teaching me the basics, the fundamentals.
“The first two weeks, I just got to their ear. I ask them what to do when it comes to plays, news and things like that, but like they’ve taken me, and they just put me under their wing and hold me accountable for my actions when it comes to things like learning the playbook. “
Coaches in Indiana always love multisport athletes, and Steinfeldt fits that bill. He was outstanding in all three sports at Bloomington North, football, basketball and baseball. In football, he’s had 94 career receptions – second in school history – for 1,444 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Always being busy, always wanting to play at a high level, has been something that has animated him for years. And even though he’s focused on just one sport now, that competitive motivation is still there – and will never go away. He always likes to jump in when he can.
“For me, it’s just competitive training,” said Steinfeldt. “In all sports in high school, I tried to do my best against the other team, the pitcher, the guy I was up against in basketball, whatever that was.
“I hoop about once every two weeks. I have been so focused on soccer, and when school comes back and there are pickup games, I might jump if my body feels good or I have a free run, or I will play with my father in his old -Guys league, just to have a good race sometimes.
Steinfeldt said he doesn’t like sitting in his spare time, so he also chose golf to keep busy, and he plays a lot in the summer. “I’m just trying to be active instead of just sitting in my dorm.”
With basketball and baseball often occupying every spring and summer, Steinfeldt is enthused by a singular focus. He’s been an all-state tight end twice in high school, so the sky’s the limit. He is already enjoying the summer training a lot and he is already looking forward to next spring. It’s all football.
“When I get into football 24/7, my cap is pretty high, I think,” said Steinfeldt. “That’s what the coaches here have been talking about. Now I can just focus on direct football. I can focus on the task at hand, just getting bigger, stronger, faster, faster.
“I’m getting to the point where I can start to see some growth for myself, just because I’m just focusing on football and don’t have to worry about baseball trips or AAU tournaments. . “
He has gained strength in the weight room before, but he is still a youngster among the adult men. But he is learning a lot from strength trainers and is already making progress.
“There are so many monsters here,” Steinfeldt said. “I’m just looking around. Marcelino (Ball) and Tim Baldwin, they just look like Greek gods, Zeus type physics. I just watch them, and it’s just hard work and dedication. I want to be at this level.
“We’ve been talking about my body composition right now,” Steinfeldt said. “They said my weight is perfect enough for my level and the position I’m playing in. It’s just a matter of maintaining that weight and reducing body fat. I need to eat a certain amount of calories and protein each day. . I just have to be disciplined. I’m here, and I want to be the best version of myself.