Kenneth Bynum has heard good things about Illinois from his friend Chris Jones. Both starred for Raines High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Jones is now a freshman at the UI, while Bynum is preparing for his senior season. He talks about his linebacker play.
"I play all linebacker positions. When I play, I'm a mental guy. I like to game-plan, know what I'm going to do and what the team's going to do. Then I feel more confident in myself.
"I can dominate way easier if I know what you're gonna do. I play the game mentally. Some guys aren't disciplined enough to know they're position and the other guy's position.
Bynum has excellent lateral movement and hip rotation.
"I'm not the fastest. I run a 4.82, but I run a 4.31 shuttle. I can get to the ball; I'm great in space. No one can shake me in high school. I'm a good tackler, and I can cover.
"We run a 3-3-5, so I sometimes have to play in a db slot. I'm pretty much a balanced linebacker. I had two picks last year against spread teams, one for a touchdown. But we play a lot of Wing-T teams."
The 6'-0", 220 pounder is established on the Raines defense. He's glad he's over the growing pains of playing early in his high school career.
"I think last season went real well. It was way better than my sophomore year. I started for the first time my sophomore year, and it was my first time playing with the big boys. Playing behind Chris Jones and Louis Nix and all those big boys, it was kind of rough at times."
Bynum has a number of quality offers, but Illinois is attractive to him.
"I have offers from Stanford, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Southern Miss and Illinois. I could totally see myself playing for Illinois. They just drafted their linebacker, so I think I can help fill his shoes. I think I fit."
Bynum has big plans for his future. His college must meet his needs.
"First off, I look to see if they have my major, Chemical Engineering. Academics come first. And then I look at the depth chart. You have to earn playing time wherever you go, but I want to play early."
To that end, he hopes to check out some camps and schools in the near future.
"I'm going to the Miami camp, the Florida State camp and a couple more camps. I would love to visit Illinois. I was thinking of taking an official visit there, see how campus is. I don't plan on committing right away; I'm still open."
Bynum believes the Raines team can be as competitive as last year.
"We're actually getting some more guys. Once our d-line knows how to get their hands on the tackles, no one will be able to run on us. Our dbs are getting better every day, and we have an elite receiver corps. Our receivers are fast, and they can catch.
"I think we have elite running backs; they're young as well. Keith Stallings, Isaiah Stallings's little cousin, he is a great running back. We're stacked on offense, we just have a very young offensive line."
He also has high hopes for Jones at Illinois.
"He was telling me how he was gonna dominate."