Jermaine Edmondson is a neophyte as a cornerback, but college coaches believe that is his best position.
"Last year was my first year playing cornerback. I moved here from California, where I played running back. I moved here in July. I'm taking playing cornerback serious now because that's what I'm being recruited for."
Now at McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, he had a quality junior season at cornerback but felt he could have done better.
"I ended up the season with 7 interceptions, 42 tackles and two forced fumbles. I was real nervous because it was my first year playing varsity. I should have had 14 interceptions, but I dropped a few balls. I look forward to making up for that this year."
Despite his doubts, colleges are taking notice of his play.
"The recruiting experience is really special to me. It is a blessing from God."
Illinois assistant DeAndre Smith is Edmondson's recruiting coach. They have developed an excellent relationship.
"He's a real cool guy to talk to. He understands where I come from, and I understand where he comes from."
Smith was impressed with Edmondson's highlight film.
"He came to my school. He said he saw my highlight tape. He told me he likes what he sees. When I first talked to him, I told him he'd like my highlight tape, and he said, 'We'll see.'
"My coach called me down to the weight room, and he told me Coach Smith said I was a real athletic player, and he likes the way I break on the ball. He said he needs a guy like me on his team. I have to get stronger."
Reluctant to brag on himself, the 6'-0", 170 pounder shared what college coaches say about his abilities.
"They say I'm flexible and can play any position on the field."
Edmondson has offers from Buffalo, Toledo and Louisville in addition to the Illini. He plans to visit some campuses this summer.
"I'll be at a few camps in June, the Michigan State camp, the Louisville camp, the West Virginia camp, and I believe I'm going to Illinois.
"(Coach Smith) told me I don't have to worry about going to an Illinois camp. He said I can go on film. He said I should go there to visit, and I'll like it."
Edmondson is beginning to formulate ideas on what he wants in a college.
"I'd like to have some playing time my freshman year. Academic-wise, I'd like to take some classes in building construction."
McKinley had a respectable season in 2010, but Edmonson feels even better days are ahead.
"We were solid as a team, but we had our down days. We learned a lot as a team. Our record last year was 7-3. We lost in the first round of the playoffs. We have a lot of guys coming back, so we should be pretty decent this year."