Cazley Brothers Loved Their Illini Visit

The Fighting Illini football team used to thrive on players from downstate. But in recent years, the number of top players outside the Chicago area has been slim. Not so in 2013. There is an abundance of talent all over the state, including Charleston. Brothers Dillan and Josh Cazley helped their school break records, and both are being recruited by the Illini.

Dillan Cazley is one year older than his brother Joshua Cazley, but both visited Illinois for a recent Junior Day. Dillan is a junior, and Josh is a sophomore, and both starred for Charleston High School last fall. They both had a tremendous time visiting the Illini campus.

"It was fantastic. The feeling I got when I went there was like the college that I'm looking for. The coaches that showed me around, I couldn't ask for better leaders or people to look up to. Man, it was great. They have the best facilities ever."

Josh had a similar experience.

"I loved it, it was very huge. I really like the weight room, how huge that was. I loved the coaching staff. They treated us just like family, and that's what I like. The atmosphere at the basketball game was great, I really liked that."

The fan support for the Illini at the Wisconsin game impressed Dillan also.

"The atmosphere at the game was wonderful. It's just like what I would want for four years of college."

Neither has a scholarship offer yet, but they are hopeful. In fact, Dillan refused to share any other schools recruiting him. If he gets what he wants, there may be no need for other considerations.

"I don't really want to talk about offers, I just want to talk about Illinois right now. My brother and I talk to some different schools here and there."

The brothers starred for a team that had more success than any in the history of the school.

"We lost in the semifinal game," Dillan recalls. "We went 11-2 and broke numerous records. We set the record for most wins in our school's history. And no previous team had gone to the semifinals. We lost to Rochester, who won the state championship."

Josh expects more success in 2012.

"Our team was really young, so we have a lot of players coming back next year."

Both racked up impressive statistics for the Trojans. Dillan was a defensive stalwart.

"On defense I played safety, but in college I'll probably play corner. On offense I play receiver. On the season, I had 126 tackles, two interceptions and four kickoff returns for touchdowns."

Josh was the team's rushing leader while also going both ways.

"I played tailback and a little bit of outside linebacker. I did very good. I had 856 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. At linebacker, I had five sacks."

The Cazleys also run track. An injury prevented Dillan from participating in the state meet last year.

"Last year, I could've made it to the state finals. I sat out because my hamstring wasn't feeling healthy. I didn't want to pull anything. I run the 100, 200, and the 4x100 and the 4x200 relays."

Josh plays on his sophomore basketball team. And he provides plenty of competition for his older brother in the spring.

"I also run track, the same events as Dillan. I think Dillan has the edge on me right now."

Dillan has begun to formulate some ideas on what he wants in a college.

"First and foremost, I'm looking at the education they can provide me. Before anything, I want an education and get that degree. I want to show my family I can get something that isn't common for our family.

"Does it have a good fan base? Is the town about football? Are the players they bring in meshing well as a good team, or are they playing as individuals? I want to go to a place where I'll fit in, and with me playing my part, we'll have success."

Dillan plans to visit the Illini again in the near future. No doubt his brother will join him if possible.

"I hope to come down for a practice, and I'll definitely be coming to the Spring Game."

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