DeVonta Staples is a safety from Valley High School in Alabama. He just started his senior season and shared how is playing out so far.
"Right now, my team has a record of 2-1. Overall, the season is going pretty well as a team. We're trying to get better every day. As a senior, I'm trying to become a better vocal leader and lead my team to a successful season."
Staples's team has set lofty goals for the season, and he knows it will only be possible with positive leadership and determination.
"We want to win our region first and then win a state title. What I can do to help make that happen is lead them on and off the field and go hard every practice and game. Then everything should fall in place."
So far, Staples has scholarship offers from Illinois, Kentucky, UAB, South Alabama and Marshall. As the season goes on, he is hoping to pick up a few more. He has three favorites.
"I really like UK, Illinois, and South Alabama."
What is he looking for in a college?
"I want to go to a school with great academics, great fans and a nice weight room. I want it to be somewhere I can start my career and a place I can make an impact as a freshman."
When asked what was appealing about Illinois, Staples mentioned several different features.
"Great academic school, great tradition, and Coach Zook is one of the best coaches in the nation. What sticks out to me most is their history, and the facilities there are pretty good from what I've seen."
Illinois assistant coach Chip Long is the lead recruiter. Long has been recruiting Staples since the beginning of the recruiting process and has made a strong impression.
"Coach Long is just a great person, even besides the coaching part. And as a coach, he appears to be very relaxed, He knows what it takes to be a champion."
Staples is being recruited as a free safety by Illinois. He shared the best parts of his game.
"I really love to hit and use my speed. Right now, I play about four different positions on defense, so I'm very versatile."
However, the 6'-2", 190 pounder admits he does have some things to work on during the season.
"Right now, my weakness would be that I think too much. I just have to go out and react. Also, at times I can be a little overaggressive."
Staples wants to visit Illinois before making a final decision.
"I have not made a visit yet. I really want to, though. I plan on going up there as soon as I can find some free time on a weekend."
Staples has not set a definite timeline on when he wants to make a final decision. He says he will make a decision as soon as he takes all his visits but doesn't know exactly when that will be. He plans to stay in contact with Illinois and expects them to be a school in consideration the entire time.