Illini Looking Good To Vontrell Williams

Several Fighting Illini football prospects visited the Lincoln-Way East summer camp last Sunday. All have an interest in their home state school, but perhaps the most enthusiastic of them was Vontrell Williams. The Chicago Mt. Carmel defensive tackle has traveled far and wide, but the UI still looks good to him.

Vontrell Williams and his dad have seen a good portion of America this spring.

"This spring I went to NIU, U of I, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, I've been to just about everywhere. Just about every weekend my dad and I went out."

The articulate Williams isn't through checking out the numerous schools on his list.

"After the UI camp, I go to Iowa. Then I go to Purdue and Michigan State later in the week. And then the University of Michigan and Notre Dame."

The Chicago Mt. Carmel defensive tackle has the good fortune to study everyone in detail. He believes it is the best way to choose the proper school for his services.

"After you see one thing, you get to compare it with a lot of different other things. You get to see what you like and what you don't like. It's a great thing to get out."

Isn't there a concern memories of the different locales will blend together in his mind, doing more to confuse than clarify?

"It happens every once in awhile. Now what I'm starting to do is write things down. Whenever I note something I like or dislike, I write those things down. I keep track of it and go back and refer to it."

He realizes he must begin to draw some conclusions.

"We're gonna start to narrow things down during the season. Once the season starts, I'm all about my high school team, and I'll put recruiting to the side. Probably after the season, I'll do my commitment."

Despite all the field work and study, one school comes back into his awareness whenever he thinks about his future: Illinois.

"Illinois is still at the top of the list. There's no place like home. It's not a bad program at all. Great coaching staff, I love Coach (Ron) Zook and Coach Gilmore (Keith, defensive line coach).

"I actually see myself playing at home. My family and everyone can be here watching my games and visiting. It's actually a good fit for me. This will wind up being one of my top teams."

The notoriety has been a pleasant surprise for the young giant. After all, a year ago he was a complete unknown.

"It really is a good feeling. It's new. Coming from where I was last year to where I am now...I didn't play football as a sophomore, and now after one good year I get this.

"As a sophomore, I was at St. Joe High School. Some things were going on. I had transferred back from Florida, and I couldn't play for some reason. So I transferred over to Mt. Carmel. We worked around some things, and I played."

He didn't just play. He built himself into a powerhouse with excellent athleticism for his size.

"I have to give the credit to my dad and Coach Lenti. They built me into a major football player. I have to say, you haven't seen anything yet.

"I like to say this is my first year really weigh lifting, and I'm taking some protein this year. It got me from about 225 to 275 now.

"I'm taking some speed courses and working out with my dad, which helped my 40 time go from 5.2 to 4.75. And my bench press from 235 to 385. Man, it's been a major off season for me. It's gonna help me a lot."

Illinois hopes to be the recipient of the future Vontrell Williams. If it is even better than the present one, it will be well worth the recruiting effort.

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