Holland, Michigan, middle linebacker Nathan Ricketts attended the final Illinois scrimmage at Camp Rantoul this past August. The Illini are one of several schools awaiting his senior tapes before deciding whether to offer him a scholarship.
"I have three offers, Toledo, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. And then Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, Michigan State and Illinois are also looking at me."
Illini running back coach DeAndre Smith has a previous connection to the Ricketts family.
"Coach DeAndre Smith is a great guy. He's known my dad for awhile. That's how I got in touch with him. When he was at Northern Illinois, my dad coached at Hope College. My dad would work camps there. He's been really good to me and treats me real well."
Ricketts was born to play linebacker and has the instincts for it. His dad was a linebacker, so he's grown up around it. And he has a cousin playing college ball.
"My cousin Ryan Ricketts is at Western Illinois. He'll be a freshman. He's from Galesburg."
The rangy 6'-2", 215 pounder has the assets for his position.
"I did pretty good last year. I was All-Conference and All-Area. I had 118 tackles and five sacks. I also had two interceptions, and I blocked a field goal. I'm a smart player, I can fly to the ball, and I'm physical."
His goals for improvement will no doubt appeal to many Illini fans.
"I want to be more physical. I want to be the most physical player on the field. I want to be a sure tackler no matter what the situation. I want to keep working on getting quicker. You never can be too fast."
What is he looking for in a college?
"I'm looking for a great atmosphere, great coaches and a chance to play."
Ricketts believes in his 2011 high school team. It is now 4-1 on the season after a close 56-50 loss to Kenowa Hills.
"Our past year as a team, we did all right. We should have been a little better. This year, we should be pretty good. We have a bunch of good athletes and a good team."
Ricketts got to see several schools on his wish list this past summer. He is patient while waiting for a positive response from the big schools.
"It's been fun getting to see different places I couldn't go to before. I'm just trying to make it fun. I'm gonna play the season and see what happens."
Is he eager to receive the verdict for his play?
"Definitely. I can't wait."