Ohio Athlete Impressed With Illini Visit

The quality as well as quantity of football recruiting prospects visiting the Fighting Illini campus continues to amaze. For instance, athlete Godwin Igwebuike made the trip from Ohio Wednesday. He is not only an outstanding athlete, but he's intelligent and well spoken. He is one of many recent visitors fitting this description. The Illini are definitely recruiting high caliber people.

Many high school recruiting prospects are nervous around media and unaccustomed to doing interviews. Many take at least a year or two of college to relax and open up in interviews. But Wednesday Illinois visitor Godwin Igwebuike has no problem in that regard. For instance, he provided a detailed itinerary of his time on campus.

"First of all, I got to talk to a couple of coaches. Then we took a little tour around the campus. I plan to major in Business, so I talked to one of the professors and asked him questions, which was real nice.

"We came back, and I sat in a couple of meetings to get a feel for some of the players, what they go through before practices. I got to talk to the head coach a little bit. I got to ask him some questions about the school, some concerns my mom had, and some of the things I value. That was nice.

"And then I get to sit out here and watch the atmosphere of the practices. So it's been a pretty good day."

From the sound of it, the Illini received high marks on the criteria the Ohio native considers important in selecting a school.

"Definitely academics are important. After college, you want to be able to get a good job for your future. So that's why it was important for me to talk to some people about what it's like to go into Business here.

"Also, people are very important. So it was nice to get to talk to a lot of these coaches. They seem like some great guys. You're gonna be there for four years, so you need to be someplace where you're comfortable."

The 6'-0", 180 pounder plays both offense and defense, so he spent time Wednesday with Illinois coaches on both sides of the ball.

"I'm being recruited as an athlete. I'm both a running back and a defensive back. I talked to Coach Clink (Steve Clinkscale) and the running back coach (Tim Salem). Coach (Alex) Golesh is the one recruiting me, so I talked to him of course. I talked to Coach (Tim) Beckman for a good amount of time.

"I like them; they're all great guys. They're not just here for the players, they want to make the players better people. They have goals to teach better morals and values, helping the city out, community service, things like that. That's a real good thing."

Igwebuike knew some of the coaches previously.

"I got recruited by Toledo a little bit, so I was familiar with Coach Beckman a little bit and Coach Golesh, and I think a couple other coaches came from Toledo also. So I had established relationships with a couple of them."

Does he have a preference of one side of the ball over the other?

"That's a good question. At this moment, I probably can't decide between both sides of the ball. I think when I actually get on campus, the coaches will make a decision. I think by my senior year in high school, I can begin to see where I play best at the next level."

Igwebuike described his abilities on both sides of the ball.

"As a running back, I definitely think one of my strengths is my vision. That's something natural you have to have as a running back, you can't teach that. I think I'm very agile and have speed. I'm a very tough player overall, and I play to contact. I'm not afraid of contact.

"As a defender, I'm very athletic. I go for the jump ball, and I'm very physical with the receivers. I'm also very versatile and can play both cornerback and safety, wherever I can fit in most at."

His junior season results for Pickerington North appear to confirm his assessment.

"I did pretty well last season. As a running back, I rushed for over 1000 yards and averaged 8.9 yards per carry. That's something I'm very proud of. As a defensive back, I made honorable mention all-state and ended up with six interceptions. I was very happy how I played this last season."

The Illini have plenty of competition for Igwebuike's services.

"I have 17 offers to date. Some of the Big 10 schools are Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois."

The Illini are his second visit.

"So far, I've only gone to see Cincinnati. I went to their campus about a month ago. But then I'm also planning on visiting Northwestern Thursday and then maybe stop by and see Indiana or Purdue on the way back home."

He may find it unnecessary to attend any summer camps.

"As of now, there are no camps I'm planning on going to. That could change, maybe go to a combine to get a 40 time. I can't see myself going to any college camps. My coaches are telling me the camps are more for kids without offers. I think I might just take a break from camps and narrow down the schools."

Pickerington North had a successful 2011 season.

"We did pretty well. We finished up 8-2. We barely missed the playoffs due to some computer points we didn't get from some teams we beat because they didn't end up doing very well. I think if we had made the playoffs, we would have been a big contender with a lot of those teams."

Does his team have enough returnees to make a playoff run this fall?

"I think so. We're losing some big guys. We had one go to Ohio State and one to 0DU. But we've got a lot of skill position players coming back. We've got a big tight end Chris Hune and a big defensive end Jake Butt. We've got some young db's that are ready to step up this year, and some young lineman. So I think we'll be pretty good this year also."

Igwebuike has the luxury of many scholarship offers, so he can take his time to find his best college home.

"I'm really not in any rush to make a decision. I want to make sure my decision is the best, so I'll wait until I find the one that's the best. I definitely want to get out and see other schools so I'll be able to measure what I liked about each school.

"So I'm going to take my time and talk to my parents about what my decision is going to be. That way, I know my decision will be the best one."

The Illini are hoping to be involved with his recruitment until the end.

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