Illini Bucking Odds With Georgia Defender

Fighting Illini football coaches are unafraid to battle regional powers in a quest to secure the best recruiting classes possible. As an example, the Illini recently offered star Georgia defender James DeLoach despite offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and numerous others. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

James Deloach is a big-time defensive player for Jenkins County High School in Millen, Georgia. He wants a college that can help him play in the NFL.

"I am a defensive end/outside linebacker, and I want to go to a school where players at that position have gone onto the NFL. I want coaches who can help me go to the League."

Academics is also important.

"I want to go to a school with a good graduation rate. I want to be a Radiologist, so I want a school with a good program for that. I have a friend who did that. They make pretty good money."

With these high aspirations, Deloach should have no problem finding a quality school that fits his needs. He has plenty of scholarship offers.

"It's a pretty good feeling. It's a dream come true. I have 13 offers now."

Illinois is his most recent offer. The three-star prospect is willing to consider the Illini despite their late start.

"Outside linebackers coach Ron West offered me at the school. He seems like a pretty good fella. I didn't know too much about Illinois. I guess the Fighting Illini did pretty well last year."

These college offers come despite a junior season where he missed the last 6 games due to a broken arm. It was difficult to sit out.

"It was hard watching my teammates on the field. Everybody's like brothers. That was my first major injury, and I knew my team needed me. I wanted to be one of the leaders on the team, but it went kind of down then."

Without Deloach, the team struggled.

"We didn't do too good cause we had a real young team, and I broke my arm after four games. We went 2-8."

This year he will rejoin star teammate Jonathan Taylor, a defensive tackle, on what should be an improved squad. He and Taylor share many of the same offers, including Illinois.

"Jonathan and I want to go to the same school."

The 6'-3", 265 pounder has recently said home state schools Georgia and Georgia Tech lead for his services. But he would like to see others on his list.

"I hope to visit some schools this summer. I hope to get up your way."

It is difficult to gauge his feelings on distance from home for a college. He has reportedly stated a desire to play where his family can watch him. But he also made the following statement.

"It ain't gotta be close to home. My parents told me not to let the mileage determine where I want to go. I want a good relationship with the coaches."

Regardless, Deloach plans to let the process play out. He wants to take his official visits before making a decision. If the Illini can get him on campus for a visit, they have a chance.

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