Illini Battling Top Schools For SC Defender

After a strong defensive back haul in 2011, the Illinois coaches are trying to keep the ball rolling by bringing in more talent in 2012. One potential target got an early Illinois offer and has ties to one of the incoming freshmen.

Ronald Geohaghan hails from Allendale-Fairfax High School in Fairfax, South Carolina. Part of a relatively young team last year, he expects big things this year from a group that's already played together for 3 years.

"Overall as a team, we were really heavy on juniors and had only about 6 seniors. As a class, we've been starting together since freshman year and we were able to make it to the first round of the playoffs. I played a great role in our defensive scheme. I was good in the scheme since I'd been playing it since freshman year."

Geohaghan is more than just a role player for his team. He's established himself as a go-to guy for his teammates as well.

"First off, I'm a great leader on and off the field. When it's crunch time, I'm the guy that likes to step up and make the big plays. I always like to get copies of the game film of the team we're playing and break down the offense."

Due to his size, he's looking to make the transition from middle linebacker to safety this coming year. This means putting in extra work to adjust to his new spot.

"Really, I need to work on keeping a low center of gravity and keeping my hips fluid. I'm 6'-1", 190 pounds, so I'm kind of tall as a defensive back."

Aside from being a defensive playmaker, Geohaghan is a key performer for the Allendale offense. Tough players are always appreciated, and Geohaghan believes he brings that to the table.

"I think I don't get much credit for my ability to be tough and help my running backs make big plays. In a Wing-T offense, the fullback is the main thing since there really isn't a lead blocker."

But Geohaghan's home will be on the defensive side of the ball in college. He's attracted plenty of attention and has started to lay out a plan for examining schools. Academics are a huge priority for Geohaghan, who is looking to combine his interest in two different fields into a potential major in college.

"First off, just great academics. I ask, ‘What school is going to benefit me long term after football?' I'm looking at engineering or sports medicine. I know a lot of schools have those."

Of course, football needs are important also.

I just want to feel comfortable overall with the coaching staff and my position coach. That and just developing chemistry with the guys there and the guys coming in."

Geohaghan has already received a number of offers, and he believes he could be close to more.

Clemson, Pitt, South Carolina, and North Carolina stand out to me. Butch Davis at North Carolina has a good history of first round draft picks. For me to get an offer from Coach Davis is a great honor because he's coached a lot of great athletes in the past.

"So far Alabama, Mississippi State, and some other schools are close to offering. Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia Tech came by recently.

Another school that's offered Geohaghan is Illinois. It didn't waste any time identifying and extending an offer to the South Carolina standout.

"Illinois was my second offer. Right now I don't really have a list, but I'm really interested in those guys. I want to get up for a visit, but I don't know when yet."

The main person hoping to get Geohaghan to the Illinois campus is outside linebackers coach Ron West. West has strong ties to the state of South Carolina and is well respected in the area.

"I talk to Coach West just about every week. He came by the school about 2 weeks ago to see how I was doing."

West isn't the only tie that Geohaghan has to Illinois. He's also familiar with incoming Illinois freshman Zeph Grimes.

"We had a guy from my rival school at Bamberg, Zeph Grimes, who went up there, and he really liked it. Coach West is telling me it's a great environment academically and athletically, and all the guys graduate and earn a degree."

Geohaghan wasn't able to see too many schools this spring, but he did get to look at a couple nearby schools over his spring break. He'll likely be busier this summer.

"I visited North Carolina and NC State during my spring break, and that was it. I really want to get up to Pittsburgh, and then my dad wants to get to Kentucky and Illinois too. I think he wants me to come for an official visit."

For now, spring football is starting for Geohaghan and his teammates. Since he's playing safety in college, he'll use this time as well as the fall to make the transition to the defensive backfield.

"We start spring ball next week. Pretty much I'll just be working on my db techniques. My coach wants to use me at Strong Safety.

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