IU tight end Aaron Steinfeldt already misses playing three sports, but ready to find his ceiling

Aaron Steinfeldt has in no way resigned himself to the idea that he has played his last basketball or baseball game.

The Indiana freshman tight end knows he’s not going to be the same three-sport star at IU as he was at Bloomington North High School. However, when the opportunity arises for him to go attack a hoop or pick up a bat again, even on a limited pick-up basis, he plans to take it. And he’s got a new sport too.

“I try my best to play,” Steinfeldt said Thursday on a Zoom press conference with Indiana beat writers. “I’ve been so focused on football, but I’ve been hooping probably once every two weeks. When school comes back around and there will be pickup games, I might jump in if my body feels right or if I have a free run. Or with my dad, I’ll play in his old guys league, just to get a nice run in sometimes. Other sports like baseball, I haven’t been able to get out there on the field, just because no one’s out there. But my new passion I’ve found is golf. … Just playing with a bunch of guys, trying to be active instead of just sitting in my dorm.”

Much as Indiana coach Tom Allen is a fan of recruiting multi-sport athletes, it is unclear whether or not Steinfeldt has run his two-pick-up games-a-week-while-on-campus plan by him or anyone else on the IU football coaching staff.

Needless to say, if he had to do it all over again, Steinfeldt wouldn’t have focused on a sport. He had entirely too much fun playing and excelling at all three. He finished with a combined 11 letters, playing varsity on football and baseball in all four years of high school and basketball from his sophomore year on. He was all-conference in all three sports, though his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame made football his obvious next level sport.

Football coaches in general love multi-sport athletes because football is not an all-year sport and they would rather have athletes that enjoy competing enough to do it all year as high schoolers. Steinfeldt certainly believed that the combination of year-around competition and fitness was worth it.

“For me, it’s just a competitive drive,” Steinfeldt said. “In every sport I do in high school, I tried to do the best I could against the other team, the pitcher, the guy I was matched up against in basketball.”

And at the high school level, it certainly never cost him and he was still able to spend enough time in the weight room to develop physically enough to be dominant at that level. He was an IFCA Mr Football position award winner and caught 94 passes as a high schooler, the second-highest total in Bloomington North history.

That being said, in a month on campus he’s seen the difference between him and some of the players who have been in a college development program for several years.

“There’s so many freaks here,” Steinfeldt said. “I just look around. (Husky) Marcelino Ball and (running back) Tim Baldwin, just Greek god of nature, like, Zeus-type physiques. I just look at them, and that’s just hard work and dedication. I want to be at that level.”

Steinfeldt thinks he can get there, though it might take a couple of years, because he can totally focus on weight training and nutrition and doesn’t have to go from game to game in the winter, spring and summer, when he was playing travel baseball and travel basketball at the same time.

“When I commit to football 24/7, my ceiling is pretty high, I think,” Steinfeldt said. “That’s what (coaches) have talked about. In high school, I got the competitive nature in me. Now I can just focus on straight-up football. I can focus on the task at hand, just get bigger, stronger, faster, quicker. … I’m getting to the point that I can start to see some growth for me, just because I’m just focusing on football and don’t have to worry about travel baseball or AAU tournaments.”

Steinfeldt said the IU coaching staff likes the weight he is currently at, but wants to see some more baby fat turn into muscle.

“We talked about what my body composition is right now,” Steinfeldt said. “… They said my weight is pretty perfect for my level and the position I play. It’s just maintaining that weight and cutting body fat. I have to eat a certain amount of calories and protein every day. I just have to be disciplined. I’m here, and I want to be the best version of myself.”

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