Moline Running Back Seeking Illini Offer

Several recruits were on hand to witness Illinois take down a ranked Arizona State squad at Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Among them was a running back from Moline who has just recently come into the picture. DeShawn Johnson enjoyed his visit and discussed the evening.

DeShawn Johnson is a senior running back from Moline High School. The 5'-11", 220-pound prospect recently attended the Arizona State vs. Illinois football game. He discussed how his day played out.

"My friends and I arrived and we walked up to the gate. These girls came up to us and asked if we were recruits, and we said yes. Then, they took us down by the weight room to get our tickets for the game.

"After that, the coaches had an academic session with us. And finally, we went on the field and got to watch pregame."

Johnson's visit was one he will never forget. Not only did he get to see Memorial Stadium rocking, but he also witnessed the Illini take down a ranked opponent for the first time since 2007.

"It was a great game. It was one of the best offensive and defensive games I have seen in a while. The fans were great. The student section was great. It was just a great experience! It felt as if I was at home on my home field."

Johnson was very impressed with Illinois's performance. He gave several compliments about the team, and they have given him reason to want to make a trip for another game.

"I think they could be a Top 10 team if they keep up the intensity. They looked really physical, like a good Big 10 team is supposed to look like. I will for sure be down for another game."

While at the game, Johnson got the chance to talk to another Illinois recruit and two of the Illinois coaches.

"I talked to a recruit from Indiana. I forgot what his name was, but we had a good, casual conversation.

"I also talked to Coach Mike Gillhamer, the coach recruiting me. He is a very good guy! And I talked to the running backs coach. He is a very cool guy and is really funny."

The Illini's recruitment of Johnson began recently. Gillhammer started talking to him only two weeks ago.

"He called me, asked how I was doing and said he heard good things about me and wanted good game film from me. He also told me that he heard I went to the Iowa camp and did really good while I was there."

Illinois is recruiting Johnson as a running back. He currently has no offer from Illinois, but he believes their interest in him is high.

"I believe they are going to just look at my tape and evaluate me on whether or not I will receive an offer. But, I would like to see them attend one of my games if possible. Anything the coaches decide to do is their decision. And anything they ask of me, I will do."

Johnson is content with how his season is going so far.

"Our season is going really well. We are 1-0 in conference and 2-2 overall. I believe we can be conference champs if we keep up the intensity and we are disciplined."

Johnson suffered a knee injury early in the year that caused him to miss most of his junior season. That has slowed his recruitment.

Johnson runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, showing his quickness. Yet, he has been noted as a strong, punishing runner. He shared what he believes has caught the attention of the Illinois coaches.

"I'm a hard runner. I can run between the tackles, or I can get a sweep around the outside. I'm an all-around back. I have the speed and power. But sometimes my cuts are a problem for me."

Overall, Johnson is very impressed with what Illinois has to offer.

"Great place. Great coaching staff. Good academic program. It's an all-around great environment!"

He would love to receive an Illini offer.

"It would mean so much to me and my family! I worked so hard during the offseason. It would be the best day of my life to get an offer. It's my dream to play for a Big 10 college and has been my dream ever since I started playing football. It would mean the world to me!"


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