Colleges Finding Out About Auburn High

Rockford (Ill.) Auburn high has two young prospects who already hold Big Ten offers. Find out more about them and some of the school's other top players here.

Dan Appino inherited an Auburn High football team in 2012 which had only won one game the previous three seasons. In the two seasons since, the Knights have knocked on the playoff door as the program continues to make positive strides.

A milestone for the program came this summer when two of the student-athletes on the team, junior Juwuane Parchman and sophomore Vederian Lowe, received scholarship offers from Illinois.

Parchman, a two-way standout is a player Appino believes can succeed at more than one position.

"He's an exceptional athlete," Appino said. "He's 6-0, 190 pounds, probably about 5% body fat. He's a kid who excels at track as well as plays basketball pretty well. He ran a 4.37 I think at U of I's football camp this summer and he was our leading receiver last year and also a really good defensive back. He stands out as an athlete.

"I think he would prefer to play offense, but he's willing to do whatever and U of I's take on him is they could see him on either side of the ball."

The Illini stand as his only offer currently, but schools like Northern Illinois and Wisconsin have also inquired.

The same schools have shown interest in Lowe, a massive youngster who got thrown into the fire last season, but is all the better for it.

"He's got a frame you can't coach. He's almost 6-6, 330 pounds with pretty good feet and hands for a freshman. Last year he started for us, playing games at guard. Like most freshmen, he was probably a little tentative. This year, he's honestly off to a much better start.

"He did a Rivals camp in the spring and really turned heads at that camp in terms of his pass protection."

While the scholarship offers are exciting accomplishments for Lowe and Parchman, Appino must make sure they do not rest on the laurels after receiving those opportunities.

"Our thought is, hey understand where U of I is coming from. They're being really aggressive. U of I has to be really aggressive. The other part is, none of this matters if you don't handle the academic portion. So we're focusing on that and focusing on playing well right now."

Lowe and Parchman are the two Big Ten, BCS type prospects, but the roster has several other kids on it who could play on Saturdays.

"I think we have several who can play at various levels. We have a junior linebacker who started every game as a sophomore and led the team in tackles, Alfonzo Lambert (6-1, 195), who is probably more of an FCS kid as far as size and speed. We have a wide receiver-running back Elvis Miller (5-9, 180) who is a tremendous special teams player and receiver. I think he can play D2 or maybe at the 1-AA level. He's a special kid. We also have a sophomore nose guard who started eight games for us as a freshman. He's 6-2, 325 pounds, Donterrio Hannah. He reminds me of a Michigan State defensive lineman. He's a big kid, really strong, able to anchor a couple gaps up front."

The success the team and the players have had on the recruiting trail the last two seasons are just the beginning at Auburn. Players like Lowe and Parchman show what is possible, but only if it is done the right way, and Appino is making sure that happens.

"It definitely opened some kids' eyes but they know it only comes with academic performance. I think for a long time in our district, that had sort of been passed over. The kids ignored it until the last minute. We're really trying to sell them that that starts day one freshman year. Hopefully they're seeing that when you approach it that way with an academic focus, you can really create some opportunity for yourself."

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