New York Running Back Schedules Visit

The Fighting Illini continue to attract major interest for their two running back openings. The latest to agree for an official visit is New York star Akeel Lynch. He has enjoyed an outstanding senior season, and he's a big fan of former Illini star running back Mikel Leshoure.

Akeel Lynch has scheduled an official visit to Illinois for December 9th. Originally committed to Boston College, he recently reopened his recruitment. He was asked about his interest in Illinois.

"With the situation at Penn State, I planned to visit there. Now I'm taking a look at Illinois."

Of course, there are other reasons as well. He knows about the running back tradition at Illinois, having followed NFL 2nd round pick Mikel Leshoure closely last season.

"Yeah, he was my favorite back going into last year's draft."

His Illini recruiting coach is Joe Gilbert, whose home in northern New York is near Athol Springs where Lynch resides. They have developed a relationship.

"He is a good guy. I got a great vibe from him."

While he is unsure of a major as yet, he knows the value of a quality education. He describes what he is looking for in a college.

"A great mix of academics and football, which Illinois has."

He has one other visit scheduled, but his remaining options have not yet come clearly into focus.

"I'm visiting BC. I'm waiting to hear from Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan to see if they want to set it up. I also planned to take an official to Penn State, but I don't know what's going on there."

Speaking after a Sunday night practice, Lynch was asked if his school has access to an indoor facility to avoid the elements this time of year.

"No. The weather has been good, but it's Buffalo. It can change in a minute."

His St. Francis High School team and he are both having excellent seasons.

"We are 7-3. Our last game, which is our league championship, is played on Thursday. Personally, it's been a good season. I have over 1900 yards and 28 TDs."

The 6'-1", 205 pounder with sub 4.5 speed was asked his best attributes as a running back.

"My size and speed, my ability to be a complete back. I can run both inside and outside, they work off each other. I play in the slot too."

His height requires him to improve one aspect of his game.

"My pad level since I'm a tall back. I'm always trying to improve in all areas but especially pad level."

Scout lists him as a three star safety, so Lynch has potential on both sides of the ball. But it appears the Illini are recruiting him as a running back. He says he will make his college decision once he completes his visits.

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