Jaylon Tate is a 6'-2" point guard from De La Salle High School in the Chicago Catholic League. He is a pure point guard who has the ability to score when needed. Colleges including several Big 10 schools are hot on Tate's trail. Illinois has shown heavy interest in the sophomore.
Tate likes various aspects at the University of Illinois. He understands the importance of looking at the big picture when looking at a program from a recruiting perspective.
"I like them as a team, program, and school. Coach Weber is a really good coach. The team didn't do as well as they wanted this year, but they have really good recruits coming in and have a lot of potential."
Recently Tate heard from his lead recruiter Jerrance Howard.
"I talked to Jerrance Howard last week, but besides that I haven't talked to them that much lately."
What did they discuss?
"We talked about how the season went, keep working hard, and my plans for the AAU season."
With point guard being such an important position, the Illini are taking their time with offering a floor general in 2013. But the sophomore says the conversations have begun when it comes to a possible offer.
"They have talked about it. They are looking to get me an offer pretty soon."
Multiple high majors are showing interest, and he recently received his first scholarship offer.
"Northwestern has offered. Illinois is calling me. Marquette, Ohio State, Xavier, Purdue, Ohio, Florida, and Baylor are all involved."
When it comes to a leader right now, Tate says there isn't, but he does have a few that stand out.
"I like Purdue a lot. I like Northwestern and Illinois. I don't have any favorites at this time. I am taking my time with the recruiting process."
This past season, the floor general had plenty of weapons to distribute too including Illini signee Mike Shaw and fellow recruiting targets Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis. Tate talked about how the season went.
"It was a really good season for us. We played good as a team. We didn't go as far as we would have liked to in the playoffs, but overall it was a real good season."
He averaged 10 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals per game as a sophomore.
"It was a big step for me as a player, knowing I had to step up in my role as a point guard and being more of a leader on the court. I had to lead the team as a sophomore. It was a real good season, and I have a lot more confidence now."
Tate is all about winning. He knows it is important to get his running mates going in order to get the job done as a team.
"I try to do whatever it takes to win. I'm not really set on trying to score all the time, but I can score when I need too. I really try to get my teammates involved and make them look good."
What does he think he improved most during his sophomore campaign?
"I have improved my jump shot and am more vocal as a leader."
As an upperclassman next year, Tate's leadership will be put to an even greater test. It will be his team to run with the graduation of seniors Mike Shaw and Dre Henley.
"Usually I look for Mike for things to do on the court. Now it is really my team, so I have to step up as a leader and keep my team involved."
Tate will be running with Meanstreets this spring on the AAU circuit. He wants to making a name for himself on the national level in the eyes of scouts and college coaches.
"I am looking forward to playing hard, getting more exposure, showing my skills nationally and establishing myself as a player."
The point guard is a plus ball handler with excellent vision and decision-making skills. He makes strong crisp passes where his teammates are in prime position to make a play. When asked to score, he can drive the ball hard to the hoop and score.
His jump shot is continuing to improve each time he gets on the floor. He is a good on-ball defender who has quick hands and moves his feet well.
The Illini are firmly in the mix for Tate. He is one of their top targets at the point guard position for 2013.