California Speedster On Illini Radar

A number of small but quick running backs have been making their mark on the college scene this year, proving that size isn't everything. The Fighting Illini recognize that as well. They have reached into California to target a running back/slotback/defensive back who's natural skills make him a high-value recruiting target.

Giles Chapman has been tremendous for Washington High School in Fremont, California. He is averaging 142 yards rushing a game and a whopping 14 yards a carry. Defensively, he has three interceptions on the season. He describes his abilities.

"I'm real physical and aggressive on both sides of the ball. I love to get after it; I put everything into it. My best asset is something you can't really teach. I'm very versatile when it comes to having the ball in my hands. I just do it naturally. I'm really blessed with that."

Illinois running back coach DeAndre Smith has been recruiting the young man. Chapman's dad Clifford has been impressed by Smith's effort.

"Coach Smith is looking at him as a running back/slot because of his quickness and his athletic ability. Coach Smith is real great at communicating with Giles. That's one of the reasons he's still very high on our list. They were one of the first schools to jump on board. Arkansas and Illinois were the first last year."

Chapman was originally scheduled to make an official visit to the Illini in mid October but had a conflict with his own season. He is setting up a visit when his season concludes, along with several other top schools.

"Illinois, Michigan, Auburn, Arkansas, and Stanford are my top schools right now, as well as Northern Illinois. I will wait to make visits until after my season. I plan to take all five visits. Some are recruiting me as a db, and some are recruiting me for the offensive side. And some schools are interested in my return game.

"Arkansas and Michigan are the only schools that haven't offered me yet. Arkansas said it was based on numbers and scholarships as to whether I'd get an offer or not. Michigan I feel will offer me. They'll get back to me within the next two weeks. I really feel they'll offer me, as well as Arkansas."

The 5'-8", 172 pounder knows what he's looking for in a college.

"I'm looking for where I can contribute the most to the team, and what is best for my family. I kind of want to get away from the whole West Coast. If I stay it will be Stanford."

The elder Clifford explains part of the attraction to Illinois.

"I think one of the reasons Giles is very high on Illinois is because we have family in Chicago. We're very comfortable with him being in Illinois. Academically it looks good. And we're excited about what he can do outside of football at Illinois."

Chapman plans to work hard on his strength in the offseason. In addition, his dad says he will also try his hand at track.

"He's going to be running indoor track, and he'll probably be going back East for that since there is no indoor track here. It's an elite travel track club. He's going to be doing the 60 yard dash."

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