Gainesville Cornerback Considering Illinois

The Fighting Illini football team is recruiting a cornerback from the home town of a top football program. Chris Bivins plays for Gainesville High School in Florida. If the state school doesn't offer him, he is fair game for those who like his potential as a defender.

Chris Bivins was happy to receive an offer from Illinois.

"I like it a lot. It is a great offer. I'm really looking forward to going up there for a visit. I'll probably visit over the summer."

It helps the Illini's cause that Jordan Wallace, a standout linebacker from Indianapolis and Illini recruiting prospect, met Bivins this past winter.

"Me and Jordan Wallace pretty much talk about Illinois. Jordan and I went to an Under Armour camp in January together, and we've been friends since."

Would that interest change if Florida offered the Gainesville High School athlete?

"I'd be likely to take it, but I want to keep all my options open. I want to pick the best school for me."

Bivins knows what he wants in a college.

"First of all, I'm looking at academics to see if they have the academics that I'm looking for. To make sure they have everything I need to get my degree and see if they have my major.

"And then the coaches, how good they are and how well they prepare their players for the next level. The environment of the program and what kind of city it's in. And then playing time."

Bivins has interesting choices for a college major.

"I want to major in Zoology or Criminology. I've always been an animal person. I love pets, and I love exploring everything about animals. There's just something about them. Most people look at me and start laughing, but I've always really liked animals.

"And then I've always liked Criminology, and I'd like to get in that type of lifestyle. They make a lot of money as well. If I make it to the League, it is something I could do after that."

The 6'-0", 170 pounder admits concern about attending a cold weather school like Illinois.

"Most people don't say it, but I've been in Florida my whole life. So if it gets cold, that's a different aspect. It gets cold here every once in awhile, but most of the time it's pretty hot.

"I don't know if I'm gonna stay in Florida. I'm still talking to my dad about it. There's a possibility I'll go out of state."

The 3-star prospect didn't wish to give anything away early, but Illinois has a decent chance to make his top group, which includes offers from FIU, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, South Carolina, South Florida and Utah.

"I'm looking at every school. Everyone is pretty much on the same level. I'll probably have a top 5 by maybe next week, but even those five will all be on the same level. And then I'll look at those more in depth. There's a real good possibility Illinois will make that top 5."

Bivins has a lot to offer the school that receives his commitment.

"I'm a better tackler than most dbs. I feel I'm a real solid tackler. I can play the run and play the pass, and my man coverage is good. I have good hips, good feet and real good speed. I ran a 4.4 at my last combine, and I ran a 4.2 shuttle as well."

Of course, he knows he has much to improve.

"It's pretty hard for me to get low because I'm about 6 feet tall. So most of my tackles are up high instead of tackling someone's feet. My backpedal is good, but I could get it operating faster. And catching the ball. I pretty much work on everything during the off season."

Gainesville High School enjoyed an outstanding 2010 season. It remains to be seen whether 2011 stacks up as well, but Bivins is optimistic.

"Last year we finished 11-3 and made it to the Final Four. We lost to the champions. Then we lost 9 starters off the defense and 6 starters off the offense. So we're pretty much rebuilding.

"This spring we did pretty well actually. We did better than expected. We won our spring game 21-14. Our outstanding soon-to-be-junior running back rushed for like 150 yards in 14 carries. I had a pick and a 98 yard reception. I'm playing both offense and defense this year. I play receiver."

Bivins is a two-sport athlete.

"I run track. This was my second year. I run the 100, the 200 and the 4 X 100. My best time in the 100 was 11.1, and I made it to the regionals. In the 200, I got fifth in our division."

There is a need for this intelligent and athletic prospect to make an early college decision.

"I'm enrolling early to college, so I'm gonna make a decision before anyone else. I'll probably make it over the summer."

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