Henry Dickinson, a senior at Memphis University School in Tennessee, is committed to the Illini and likely to play the Bandit position. However, he has been all over the field making plays for his high school team so far, having a great season despite his team's record.
"We're 6-3 right now. We're not where we want to be record-wise. We're 1-1 in our division with our 3rd game coming up this Friday. We need a win to get a good seed in the playoffs."
The most recent game, a loss to Christian Brothers High School, the alma mater of current Illini freshman Jonathan Brown, was a point of conversation between the two on Friday night as Dickinson began his official visit to Illinois.
"Jon and I talked about it Friday night after the game, but he had a lot of respect for how I played in the game and didn't really talk smack about it."
Dickinson made his way to see the Illini soundly defeat Indiana on Homecoming. The game left a pretty strong impression on Dickinson, adding to his excitement for the coming years.
"I loved it. They have so many traditions in the game. The 'I-L-L, I-N-I' chant was great. The crowd was really into it. The whole atmosphere was awesome, and a great win to show for it."
This was not Dickinson's first trip to see the Illini. Shortly before committing, he came to the summer scrimmage at Rantoul High School. This visit showed him the rest of the program that he didn't get a chance to see his first time at Illinois.
"This time I got to see more of the pregame. It was a lot more intense, the guys really got after it. The scrimmage was alright, but I liked the feel when they play another team. It was a lot more intense."
Also making the trip were Dickinson's parents, who feel comfortable with the Illini program and the school as a whole.
"They loved it. My parents are totally comfortable with me going there. They aren't worried about the distance, and they have great relationships with the coaches. My mom loves the academics. I want to go into business or finance, maybe banking."
Dickinson also has a great relationship with Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning, who is also his recruiting coach.
"We talk a couple times a week. He just tells me to stay on it. Keep playing hard. Keep doing what you do. We just talk about Illinois and about my team. I can't wait to get up there."
A few of the recruits have made it to multiple games thus far this year, but coming up from Memphis for every game isn't easy.
"I'll probably just wait. I'm not in a huge rush to visit. I want to finish my senior year strong. It's a pretty long distance."
So after getting to watch the Illini in Big Ten action, what did Dickinson note that he needs to work on to prepare for the next level?
"One of the things JB (Jonathan Brown) was saying, was that the speed and the conditioning of it are crucial. I need to be in tip-top shape up there. I don't want that to hold me back from making an impact once I get there."