J.J. Robertson flashes a bright smile to everyone he meets. The Lincoln-Way East star makes a great first impression; his intelligence and consideration for others is obvious. Of course, he was visiting Illinois for his football skills, which are considerable.
By the time he left campus after visiting for Junior Day, he was sold on his state school.
"I loved everything about the visit. I loved the campus in general and definitely the coaches. I really hope to be an Illini one day. It was definitely an unforgettable visit.
"I'm really looking at possibly committing before the summer. It's definitely one of the schools I'm looking at right now."
Robinson will have a number of excellent college choices, and he shares some who have contacted him recently and gotten his attention.
"Purdue, Notre Dame and possibly TCU and Ohio State. I've gotten inquiries from those schools and a couple others. The only offer I have right now is Illinois."
Illinois is happy with its head start on the talented youngster. His Junior Day visit was short, but it was enough to leave an indelible memory.
"I enjoyed meeting with Coach (Ron) Zook. He's really a person I'd like to get to know a lot more. And Coach (Paul) Petrino's and my relationship is getting a lot better just from that visit."
Robertson describes his day, which ended with the Illinois basketball game Saturday evening.
"They took us on a tour. They showed us the weight room, and they talked to us about academics and stuff like that. Then we broke up into our position coaches. Coach Petrino showed us some of the things they do in their offense."
Petrino would be his position coach if he attended the UI. Petrino is also the one who recruits his area.
"That's the ironic thing about it. The coach that's recruiting me is actually the coach that's coaching my position. So I thought that was pretty cool. I love Coach Petrino. I talked with him awhile when he offered me a scholarship, and we're getting to know each other a lot better."
Part of that process includes a little preliminary coaching on receiver technique, giving Robertson a golden opportunity to see what he can learn under Petrino's tutelage.
"I'm quick, I'm real sharp on my routes. Everything Coach was teaching us like how to be sharp, how to put your foot in the ground and break off your runs, I showed him that on the film. But I also do have a lot to work on throughout the summer.
"I think my route running can be a lot better. Even though they're kind of sharp now, they can be a heck of a lot better. I've got to get lower when I run and break a lot more explosive. Sinking my hips is definitely something I need to work on. If you can stay low, you can be a lot more explosive out of your breaks."
Robertson had an outstanding junior season.
"I did good. I had 25 catches for a little over 600 yards and 9 touchdowns. I had two kick return touchdowns. And I had a punt return touchdown called back by a penalty."
His team did well also.
"We lost our first game, but after that we went 8-1. We lost second round of the playoffs to Glenbard West. They were a good team."
Robertson believes his team will be even better in 2011.
"I think we'll be real good. I think we'll come out a lot more explosive this year. I know our coach is straightening out the offense a lot better. So it's gonna be real interesting to see how we come out this year."
Robertson knows what he wants in a college.
"Number one is academics. I know football is what I want to go to college for, but I really want to get the education out of it. As for football, I'm not really strict on a location. I'd love to stay in Illinois because it offers more opportunities for my family and a lot more people to come to my games. But education is definitely what I'm looking for most.
"I want to go into Sports Medicine. I'm thinking about being a sports doctor. If professional football doesn't work, I'd definitely like to be a sports doctor."
Doubling up with two sports can be difficult. Robertson has decided to give up one of his.
"I've played baseball my whole life, but I decided to give it up this year so I can concentrate on football. It's hard to do two sports in college, and I put my heart into football the most. So I want to concentrate on preparing for my football season."
More visits to the UI campus will be part of Robertson's immediate future.
"Coach Zook said I should come to a couple spring practices. He definitely wants me to come down a couple times during the spring and summer."