Clay Hadley’s visit to the University of Indianapolis in December included a brief conversation with fellow offensive lineman Jordan Bedan.
Before that, the two Center Grove graduates had never met — not entirely surprising, since they were five years apart.
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“During my visit, we talked. I was like, ‘You’re Jordan Bedan from Center Grove,’” Hadley recalled, “and I said, ‘I went to Center Grove.’ We kind of connected there and talked about that for a little bit.”
“I remember hearing about him when I was growing up and the kind of player he was. I always strove to be like the guys that were ahead of me. I never knew him specifically, but when I started getting older I started hearing more about him.”
Now the two former Trojans make up the right side of the Greyhounds’ offensive line.
Bedan, a guard, is a sixth-year medical redshirt who at 24 years old is one of the Greyhounds’ elder statesmen. Hadley, Indianapolis’ starting right tackle, turned 19 in July.
Switching from Center Grove’s run-oriented wing-T offense to coach Bob Bartolomeo’s spread offense requires a period of adjustment. Bedan, one of five former Trojans on the Indianapolis roster, has taken Hadley under his wing to help him adjust.
“Since this is a completely different offense from high school, I’ll still have some questions here and there,” said Hadley, who was a wide-eyed seventh-grader watching Bedan’s senior season at Center Grove in 2011. “I always know I can look to him and he’ll know the answer because he knows every (line) position.”
A torn right ACL in Bedan’s third game last season is how this unlikely pairing came to be. After watching his streak of 38 consecutive starts come to an end as a redshirt senior, Bedan mulled over the possibility of applying for a sixth year of athletic eligibility.
The NCAA granted Bedan that option, and he returned to the UIndy program as a means of making up for having to be on the sideline during most of last season.
Indianapolis is currently 6-0 and ranked a program-best fifth in Division II. Bedan and Hadley are vital components for a Greyhounds squad averaging 34.5 points and 415.3 yards of total offense per game.
“It’s awesome having him right next to me. We know what the other went through in high school and each other’s work ethic from that,” Bedan said. “I know Clay is going to give it his all every play, and I hope he thinks I’m going to do the same.”
“The age difference, it’s a little different. But you know what? It’s okay. Clay’s a great player; a great kid.”
Hadley’s ascent to starter began during the summer, when projected starter Kyle Ball of Perry Meridian, who started five games in 2016 as a true freshman, tore his ACL in practice. He is out for the season.
It didn’t take long for Bedan to notice the second-team right tackle was pretty good, too.
“Clay locks onto a guy and never stops driving his feet,” Bedan said. “There’s a lot of times I’ll look over there and be like, ‘He’s a Center Grove kid.’ All the scuff marks on our helmets. That shows that you’re a Center Grove kid.”
THE BEDAN FILE
Name: Jordan Bedan
Position: Right guard
High school: Center Grove (2012)
THE HADLEY FILE
Name: Clay Hadley
Position: Right tackle
High school: Center Grove (2017)