Iloegbu Excited To Be A Bearcat

Ike Iloegbu committed to play football for UC about a week ago, but the excitement of becoming a Cincinnati Bearcat is still readily heard in his voice. Bearcat Insider recently spoke with this superb athlete.

When Bearcat Insider finally caught up with Ike Iloegbu, he was on his way to the Cincinnati campus.  "I'm on a bus right now, and I'm headed over to UC."  Ike's so excited about becoming a Bearcat, he was recruiting one of his Harmony teammates to University Heights to see the Bearcat coaches.  "I'm taking Brandon Williams with me to talk to the coaches.  I told him if they offer to take it.  Why wouldn't he want to go to Cincinnati?  It's a big time school in the Big East."    


Iloegbu is an interesting athlete with a nice combination of size and speed.  Ike said he's 6' 2" and 208 pounds with a 4.42 forty-yard-dash time.  "I ran a 4.42 at the Nike camp.  If anyone doesn't believe it, I've got it on tape." 


Four years ago, this nomadic New Yorker seemed unlikely to land in the Queen City.  He started his high school career at Brentwood High School on Long Island and was good enough to get called up to the varsity to play quarterback about halfway through that freshman year.  He returned to Brentwood his sophomore season as its starting QB, but afterward his mother wanted Ike to transfer to St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip, New York for his junior year.  "My mom is pretty religious, and she wanted me to transfer to a private school.  That's where I really blew up and started to get noticed."  St. John would not be his final destination.  Ike then transferred to Ramapo High School in Spring Valley, New York to play for a relative, and he played well enough to receive scholarship offers from Colorado, Temple and Buffalo.  With all the moving around, academics became an issue so Ike transferred to Harmony Community in early March of 2007 to improve his grades.  "I've been doing great.  I've gotten all A's and B's and straight A's in summer school."  Harmony's school year ended in early May.  Ike will spend the remainder of his summer weightlifting, practicing football, doing community service and preparing to pass the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT).    


Cincinnati got involved in Ike's recruitment only recently, but everything seemed to fall into place.  "It was weird.  They just came in instantly.  What happened was they came in for a practice.  I had been talking a lot to Michigan State and Coach Barnett, but Coach Coombs and Coach Elston came down for a practice.  Coach Coombs asked me about my grades and if I was cleared by the Clearinghouse.  I said I had all the grades but hadn't gotten registered by the NCAA.  He said to get registered and become a Bearcat.  I knew right then that they were going to offer, and later I got a scholarship from them.  I talked to Coach Poole and my mom about it, and I called Coach Jones and committed right there."


Most lifelong quarterbacks struggle with the notion of changing position, but that isn't the case with Ike.  "I'd rather play corner.  I love this position.  I've only played this position for about three weeks now, but I know what I'm doing.  I like to hit.  I'm aggressive.  Coach (Poole) says he loves me at that position more than quarterback."  Ike says the Bearcats have recruited him as a cornerback despite the fact that he has yet to play in a game at that position.  He will get his first game experience at Harmony next season.


In an ironic twist of fate, the old Cincinnati staff had a lot to do with Ike's becoming a Bearcat.  "In February, Coach Barnett got me to come down here, or I would never have come to Harmony.  He gave me a verbal offer from Michigan State, but I never received anything."


Ike won't be the first to go to college on an athletic scholarship.  He said his older brother recently signed to play basketball at Coppin State after spending a couple years at a junior college.


As mentioned earlier, Ike has a teammate, Brandon Williams (6' 2"/290), that plays on Harmony's offensive line, and Ike is recruiting Brandon to become a Bearcat.  "They're very interested in Brandon Williams.  He is huge and benches over 400 pounds." 


I spoke with Ike later that night (Wednesday), and Ike said Brandon is 90% committed to the Bearcats even though no official scholarship offer has been made yet.  Brandon gave the Bearcat coaches his highlight tape, and that tape would need to be evaluated prior to an offer being made.  Williams is originally from St. Louis.


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