Illini Assistant Long Making Impression On DB

The 2011 Fighting Illini recruiting class was a real shot in the arm regarding depth in the secondary. The Illinois coaches are looking to fortify the secondary further in the next recruiting class. Among their options is a stellar defensive back from the Peach State.

Chaz Elder is a 6'-2", 175 pound playmaker on both sides of the ball for Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia. However, his strength lies on the defensive side of the ball. Elder has the versatility to play just about any defensive back position, similar to 2011 signee Dondi Kirby.

Elder was pleased with his junior season.

"This year as a team we did alright, but individually I did better than I expected. I played a few different positions and played around the field a lot more. I played safety, corner, and receiver. I returned some too.

"My best position is probably safety. I can play either safety or corner in college, depending on what the coaches want."

Some skills only come with added game experience, and Elder will be looking to further refine his game as he builds on his junior year.

"I really want to understand the overall flow of the game a little better."

A tall, rangy defensive back, Elder can take advantage of his size when matching up against receivers.

"Most colleges really like my size and how I match up against just about anybody."

With an offer list including schools like Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia and many others, Elder has plenty of options when it comes to colleges. He talked about some of the things that have set some schools apart from the rest.

"I'm just seeing how the relationship with the coaches is. I want to see where I possibly stand on the depth chart at each school. That's basically it right now."

What schools stick out for him?

"Georgia, Clemson, and Illinois are the ones coming at me hard right now. The coaches seem really cool at all of them. I call them every now and then."

Home state school Georgia has a strong history of defensive backs and is right in Elder's back yard.

"It's close to home. I've been up there a couple times for junior days and things like that."

Another southern school that has grabbed Elder's attention is Clemson. The Tigers's coaching staff has clicked well with him so far.

"I went to Clemson yesterday and watched practice. I like the academic programs up there and the situation with that. I have a good relationship with the coaches there too."

Illinois is the most distant school of his top 3, but he intends to visit.

"I haven't been up there, but I'm hoping I can get up there sometime soon."

Part of the reason Illinois has made a strong impression on Elder thus far is the intensity and fervor of young Illini coach Chip Long.

"Coach Long has been after me so far. We're on the same page as each other really. He's a younger guy, but he's easy to talk to."

Though he hasn't seen the campus yet, Elder has heard great things about Illinois and finds the opportunity to play early appealing.

"He was saying that the campus is wonderful. He also said I have a good chance of coming in and maybe even starting."

Elder's trip to Illinois isn't in question, but when exactly it will happen might be.

"I don't know whether or not I'll visit in the summer or the spring yet. I still have to figure that out."

Elder hasn't really put much thought yet into ending his recruitment. He wants to give every school a fair chance first.

"I haven't thought about when I'll be deciding yet either. If I feel comfortable with my choice, then I'll make it. I'm hoping I can get around to all these schools for visits first."

In the meantime, Elder is focused on preparing for his senior season and giving 100% all year.

"I just want to go out and go hard every play and strive for greatness."

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