Dean Lowry, a 6'-5", 225-pounder from Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois, has been making a name for himself after leading his team to the 6A State Championship this past season. Lowry was a key player for the Titans, and he was named All-Conference as a tight end/defensive end.
Lowry has received verbal scholarship offers from Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Illinois State and Western Michigan, and his recruitment is far from over. He made a recent visit to Illinois, where he joined many other high-profile recruits from across the nation on Junior Day.
Lowry shared his thoughts on the visit and what he enjoyed most about the football program and school in general.
"The coaches and academic advisers explained a lot about the school and what they had to offer academically, and they gave us a tour of the facilities. Later, we went out to eat, and then we went to the basketball game.
"I thought (the game) was really cool. It was cool to sit behind the Orange Krush because they were really energetic and into the game. It showed off how great of a fan base Illinois has and how in every sport they have a good following."
Lowry got a chance to talk to the coaches during his visit and get a better feel on exactly what they think about him.
"We talked at dinner, and they said they weren't ready to offer yet. But they are definitely interested in me."
As for whether he thought he would receive an offer or not, he didn't know what to expect.
"I am really not sure if they'll offer. If I don't get (a scholarship) by summertime, I will go to their summer camps and show what I've got to offer."
Lowry brings a lot of positives to the table.
"I think that I do a lot of things well. I do good spins and block really well. I get off the ball really fast and I am athletic, so combine that with hard work and the weight room, I can be pretty successful.
"Also, I lead by example; I am the first one in the weight room and the last one to leave. I try to show my team what it takes to go as far as you want and win a state championship."
While Lowry boasts plenty of positives within his game, he still knows certain aspects need to improve in order to succeed at the collegiate level.
"Some things I need to work on are being able to use my hands better and being more physical at the line of scrimmage. I definitely believe I need to get bigger and stronger. I have a 6'5" body frame, so I have plenty of room to put on weight."
When looking for a college, Lowry is searching for certain things in both the school and football program. He wants the best of both worlds.
"In a college, I look for a good fan base, that it's not not too far away from home, and it's good for Business--my major. In the football program, I look for a good coach that I want to play for and a program that I know can compete."
He acknowledged Illinois is the type of school he seeks.
"There is nothing I really don't like about Illinois. It's a perfect mix between great academics and athletics."
He also has a positive vibe about the UI football program.
"Illinois would definitely be one of my favorites if they do offer me. They are one of the teams I have rooted for my whole life, so they would definitely be up there.
I really like the new coaching staff. You can tell they are all motivated and want to get to the highest level. And academically, I feel like Illinois is the top of the top, and they have really good connections into Chicago for a career after college."
While Lowry does enjoy the recruiting process, he understands that he still has his senior season ahead of him. He is hoping he and his team can be successful once again next season.
"Our team goal is to win the state championship again next year. And, my personal goals are to be All-State and be a leader for my team."
Lowry will continue to remain close to the UI coaches through the year. He plans to come to Champaign for a spring practice and possibly a spring game and summer camp.