Tall Wide Receiver Fluellen Drawing Attention

New coaching staffs often have a preference when it comes to the type of player they recruit. When it comes to wide receivers, Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino prefers big targets for his quarterback. One such player the Illini staff is after fits those specifications quite well.

Wide receiver Michael Fluellen of Seneca High School in Louisville, Kentucky, is the epitome of a big receiver. Standing 6'5" tall and weighing 200 pounds, he provides a big target for any quarterback and can be a threat anywhere on the field.

"I think I can do all things out there. I can get yards after the catch. I can get long balls, I can be a possession receiver. I like to look at Kyle Prater, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones and how they play. People underestimate my speed. People look at my route running and it might look slow on film, but my stride makes up for it."

His team really missed him as well as some other key players on the field last year. The vital pieces to Seneca's puzzle were sidelined by injury but now they're all healthy. The difference is obvious.

"We're 5-2. We're having a pretty successful year compared to last year (4-6). I was sidelined with an injury last year. DaMarcus Smith's injury was a big downfall to the team. Our running back got hurt too. We put in a lot of extra work. Harder practices and a lot more work ethic."

Still getting back into the groove of football after his injury, Fluellen admits that he still has some areas that need refining in his game.

"My elusiveness with my route running and my speed after the catch. I don't always burst to my full potential."

Understandably, Fluellen's injury has limited his exposure to a lot of college programs, who still want to see what he can do through a full season. But he has already started forming some criteria for his recruiting process and even has a pretty good idea of what he'd like to major in.

"An offense that gets all of their receivers involved. Coaches that like throwing to big targets across the middle and down the field. I'm a vocal guy, so I'd like to go into sports media or sports broadcasting in college."

So far, Fluellen has attracted the attention of a few BCS schools: Illinois, Louisville, and Kentucky.

"They're all three big programs, and I could see myself playing in all three. Whichever one is best for me in the end I'll pick. I'm waiting on more offers though."

With Illinois being the most distant school, Fluellen still hasn't gotten the chance to view the entire Illini picture yet. But so far likes what he has heard.

"I talk with Justin Green and his mother and how they're really happy up there. The facilities are top of the line. It's a great place to be."

Aside from the Greens, Fluellen is building a close relationship with quarterback coach Jeff Brohm, who is very familiar with the Louisville area.

"I talked to Coach Brohm three times last week. We talk about anything. He and I have a special bond I think."

Many players who are not in close proximity to the university only take limited visits. This is not the case with Fluellen, who has plans to take both an unofficial visit and an official visit to Illinois.

"The unofficial I'm taking for the Indiana game with DaMarcus Smith just to watch a game and see how we like it there, see how the team plays, the fans react, and the coaches coach. I want to take my official during basketball season to get to know the coaches more and have personal conversations and not have to worry as much about the football."

Speaking of DaMarcus Smith, since word has gotten around that he will be visiting Illinois, a lot of speculation has arisen that he is wavering on his commitment to Louisville. Fluellen, however, explained the situation and testified to Smith's character at the same time.

"He's really loyal to Louisville. He told me that he's going there. He said he was going to help me out and get me out there and show me the ropes. I didn't get out like he did early on. He's kind of like my guide and teaches me a lot.

"I know Coach Brohm is after both of us though. We told him we were coming together for a game, and he said he could see both of us playing there."

Don't expect a school decision any time soon. After a year of multiple commitment changes last year, many more players are being patient and making sure their first decision is the right one.

"I feel like I'll wait until around signing day. When my offers start coming in and I talk to my parents, I'll figure out a day. But I'm taking this season as a humbling experience, and I want to keep playing like I have to get offers so I haven't set a date yet."

Remember the name Michael Fluellen because it could be one that you hear for the next few years.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories