Linebacker Keith Brown Impressed With Illini

The Illinois linebacking corps is a physical group, and with Ian Thomas graduating, the Illini are looking for playmakers ready to make an early impact once he departs. A Miami star visited the Illini this weekend and sees an opportunity to be a difference maker.

Keith Brown, a one-time Miami commit from Miami's Norland High School, joined two of his teammates on a visit to Illinois for the game against Michigan on Saturday.

"Overall it was great. I really enjoyed myself. The main thing was Coach (Ron) Zook. He's a team player, and he showed me that while I was there. We talked about a few things. He cares a lot about his players, and I look up to him for that."

In addition to forming a strong bond with Illini coaches, Brown was impressed by the camaraderie amongst the players. Also, he sees the potential to get on the field early.

"I got to know the team, and they have a bond and a brotherhood. I could see myself coming in and playing early.

"I got to know Akeem Spence and Eaton Spence. Akeem's a real cool dude. I hung with Tavon (Wilson). They're all real cool guys."

The 4-star linebacker has a certain set of expectations for the schools he visits. He talked about some of the things he looked at specifically with Illinois.

"First off is academics. I want to go into kinesiology. That's what my mom looks for. Second is seeing if I can come in and make an impact early. Having a good bond with the Coach and the coaching staff too."

Brown already had a strong relationship with his recruiting coach Joe Gilbert, but this weekend gave him the opportunity to talk to some of the other Illinois coaches.

"Oh yeah, I talk all the time with Coach Gilbert. I met Coach Koenning for the first time, and we talked about a lot of things like the defensive schemes and what positions he could see me play. He says he could see me stepping up and making an impact early."

Brown's similarities to Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown don't stop at the name. Both are big, physical linebackers who have the athleticism to make plays all over the field.

"Oh yeah, I met J. Brown. He was showing me around. I watched him. He had a couple real good plays and made a lot of good tackles and was all over the place. He had a good performance."

Brown previously visited three other schools officially before coming to Illinois. He has one official visit remaining and will be setting that visit soon.

His visit to Illinois may not have been his best visit overall, but in terms of what he can take away, Brown had very positive things to say about the Illinois players and coaches.

"So far I've been to Clemson, South Florida, Purdue and Illinois. Next one is out of either Georgia, LSU, or Arkansas. The Illinois visit was very good. Maybe not the best visit I've been on, but coaching-staff wise, these are the best coaches and some of the best players I've met. The visit was awesome anyway."

Brown made his visit along with two of his teammates, highly-recruited defensive tackle Teko Powell and Lamar Atkins. Visiting together was a good experience for Brown, and he was glad he had some familiar friends with him.

"This was my first time visiting with other teammates, but we enjoyed spending time together. It was good having them here. I got to see what they think and put it all together."

Following his final visit, Brown will begin to think things over and come to a decision. He hopes to make his choice relatively soon.

"I'm planning on deciding by the first week of December."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories