Cincinnati Lineman Enjoys Illini Visit

The Fighting Illini football team hosted a number of high school football prospects for Junior Day Saturday. Besides getting an introduction to the school, they were able to watch the Illinois basketball game against Iowa. Among the visitors was Cincinnati lineman Caleb Stacey. He enjoyed himself.

Caleb Stacey is an offensive lineman from Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati. He made the trip to Champaign for an Illinois Junior Day Saturday and returned home impressed.

"It was great. I loved everything Illinois had to offer. Coaches, facilities, history of the school. Getting to meet Coach (Zook) for the first time, the experience of the game, and everything they had to offer was great. I loved Illinois. I'm looking forward to getting back up there for spring ball."

His recruiting coach is Jeff Brohm. Stacey will never forget his first contact with the Illini assistant.

"I've known Coach Brohm for about 2-3 months, since he started recruiting me. He and my coach were emailing back and forth. My coach told me to give him a call in about a week. I called him, and he told me he would like to offer me a scholarship. It was a good call.

"They were actually the first BCS school to offer me. That was a good feeling when they offered me, and it's really picked up since then."

Indeed it has. The 6'-4", 280 pounder now has nine scholarship offers.

"I have four MAC schools and five BCS offers. The MAC offers are Ohio, Toledo, Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio. My five BCS schools are Illinois, Wake Forest, Boston College, NC State and West Virginia."

What is he looking for in a college?

"Seeing how well I get along with the coaches, where good people are and how bad a school wants me. I don't want to go to a school that doesn't want me. Right now, Illinois has that. It was a great trip."

Stacey appears to have the attributes Illinois is looking for in their offensive linemen.

"I think my athleticism and my work ethic are definitely what stand out with coaches. I think I'll outwork everybody on the field. I'm pretty athletic for a lineman."

Of course, there are always things to improve upon.

"Probably getting up on the second level and finishing linebackers off like I do defensive linemen."

If he attends Illinois, Stacey will likely need to learn a new position.

"I play left tackle right now, but I think Illinois is probably gonna recruit me as a guard. Coach Gilbert told me when I come back up for spring ball, things will get more serious than they are right now. So we will discuss specifics of my role later."

It appears Stacey has made a good enough impression on Illini coaches that he doesn't need to attend summer camp.

"Probably not. I talked to Coach Gilbert about camps, and he told me not to really worry about camps and stuff like that. That's not saying I'm not going to attend any, but he told me I just needed to focus on the schools that are actually interested in me. He told me they have film of me, and they wanted to offer me."

Oak Hills didn't live up to its expectations this past season, but Stacey looks forward to a great senior season in 2011.

"We didn't do too well. We were 4 and 6. Things didn't pan out the way we wanted them to. Things are looking up for next year, and we're looking forward to getting back on track. Our whole offensive line is coming back; we started five juniors."

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