Most people know about Tyrone Pearson, an early selection for the 2012 U.S. Army All-American game and Illinois prospect who has recently moved to Indianapolis. However, he had a teammate in Louisville last year who had quite a season himself and is starting to hear from some bigger schools.
Oliver Hinkle is a 6'-2", 280 pound defensive tackle from Seneca High School. He has great strength, which is why some of the Illinois facilities appealed to him.
"The weightlifting facility was great. They explained that it was one of the top weight facilities in the country."
He experienced the welcoming feeling that most recruits get when they visit the UI campus.
"The coaching staff came in and greeted me before I even greeted them. They really care about the academics, and my parents are really big on academics."
Coach Vic Koenning and Coach Paul Petrino really have upped the intensity of Illinois practices, and that fire was evident to Hinkle as he watched the scrimmage.
"Everybody was energetic, and everybody wanted to practice hard that day. Nobody was slacking."
Hinkle is getting early interest from some strong programs and has begun to visit a few of them.
"Illinois, Stanford, FSU, Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati."
After Hinkle checked out Illinois, he headed out to California to take a look at Stanford. Right now, he holds two schools on top.
"Stanford was amazing. They're really big on academics. Probably Louisville too."
Hinkle has collected a few early offers, but Illinois is not yet one of them.
"I have offers from Western Kentucky and Cinncinnati."
Hinkle is well aware of the potential to play with his former high school teammate Pearson on the next level.
"We've been talking about it. We're really close. Wherever I go, he'll probably go with us and same for us with him."
Illinois is still in hot pursuit of the duo, though. Coach Jeff Brohm is putting in the time and the effort to recruit the tackle tandem from his old stomping grounds.
"I just like the whole thing of talking with Coach. He loves coming down here. He actually said he had heard about me from other recruiters and from watching film on Ty. He's been telling me that Illinois is a good program, and that they play hard."
The Illinois team chemistry is stronger than ever this spring, and Hinkle says it isn't hard to notice.
"More than anything, it's a family and a team. It's more than just business with the football team. They really care about you and each other."
Other than the Illinois and Stanford visits, Hinkle has taken a few so far and has a couple in the works for the near future.
"Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, the ones around here. Illinois, Stanford, and I'm headed to FSU next. This is really the first I've gotten around to travel."
Hinkle doesn't want to set any sort of schedule yet. He aims to take time with his recruitment to make the best decision possible.
"It'll probably just come down to when I think the time is right. I plan on making my decision on signing day though. I'll take all of my officials and all that."