Georgia Cornerback Considering Illini

Buford, Georgia, is a hotbed for high school football. The school this year has at least 10 upcoming seniors expecting to play college ball. The Fighting Illini are recruiting several of them, including cornerback Ryan Dillard. He has the talent and smarts to be an excellent college defensive back.

Ryan Dillard has enjoyed a highly successful career for Buford High School. So successful, opposing teams have avoided him whenever possible.

"I had only one pick, but that's because they didn't really throw to my side this year. A lot of coaches already knew about me. I had about 6 or 7 last year, but this year they didn't really come to my side. My stats were down. I haven't allowed a touchdown in three years. I want them to come at me this year."

Dillard has offensive responsibilities also.

"I'm gonna be playing running back this year, plus punt returns and kickoff returns. I played some wide receiver last year. I had some big catches."

He will likely limit himself to cornerback in college. He has a good understanding of what he does well and what he needs to improve.

"I have good ball skills, I play the ball high in the air and have a good feel. I'm a good open field tackler. I play the coverages real well, and I'm very physical. I need to get more flexible. I'm always working on my fundamentals."

Dillard is also a student of the game as Buford insists on a great deal of film work. This experience will help him in college.

"We look at a lot of film, before, after, in the mornings. It really does help. We watch all the teams starting that Sunday before the game. We learn all the plays and all the routes."

With that attention to detail and the tremendous talent on the team, it is no wonder they enjoyed success this past fall.

"We went 14-1 and ended up winning the state against Calhoun. That was the third time in a row we played them. We have 20-30 something seniors coming back, so we're pretty stacked this year. We have to keep with the process and keep working hard."

Dillard has a scholarship offer from Illinois. That and his other two offers prove his quality in the classroom.

"I also have an offer from Air Force and one from Harvard. I definitely want to major in Business. I want to be an entrepreneur after college."

Illini assistant coach Chip Long has made a strong impression with Dillard.

"He's a real good guy. He calls and checks over me. He wants to get to know me more; I like that. And I like the fact he said to call him anytime. He seems like a real laid-back and down-to-earth guy."

Dillard has visited a number of schools already, and he hopes to visit Champaign soon.

"I've visited Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech. I'm definitely trying to get up to the Illinois campus this summer."

He will select a college based on a number of criteria.

"First of all, I'm looking for playing time. I want a good combination of education and competition. I want a great relationship with the coaches.

"I want a good college atmosphere, and I want to be around kids that are positive-minded like me and focus on their school work as well as football. And I'm looking for a good job relationship where I can get a job right after college. Those are the main things."

Dillard runs track also, but football is his highest priority.

"I run the 400, the 4 X 100 and the 4 X 400. Overall, I did real well. I didn't go to regionals because they wanted me to do football. I was working on my speed mostly. Track is over now. We finished track and then went into spring football."

Does he have an idea when he might wish to commit to a school?

"This summer, after I take some of my visits, we're gonna sit down and look at the pros and cons of each school. I'll start narrowing down my thoughts on each one. So we'll see, maybe before the season, maybe after. It just depends."

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