Josh Augusta is a three-sport star for Peoria High School. He has enjoyed a phenomenal year in football, basketball and track. He finished second in the state in the shot put as a sophomore, played so well in football he has offers from Illinois and other major programs, and was part of a state championship basketball team.
He injured his knee in the 3-A state championship win, but he says it won't hinder him for track.
"It's getting better. I sprained my MCL, so I've been icing it. I'm doing track. I don't run, I just throw, so it doesn't bother me. They gave me a week or two off."
The basketball achievement was fun for the 6'-5", 278 pounder.
"It was great. We had a team party right after, and then on Sunday we had a parade."
Did you expect to do that well?
"Not really. We were good, but we got better as the weeks went on. They had all played together for a while, so they were pretty used to each other."
He praised his UI visit Friday.
"I'm loving it. They're top on my list. I really like the Illinois coaches. They get so excited. I like how they get excited about you."
The Illini are recruiting Augusta as a defensive lineman. He arrived early enough in the day to see Illinois defensive line coach Keith Gilmore interact with his players.
"I got here around 3:00 pm. They were talking to me, and I went to the team meetings for defensive line. I really like their defense. And I love Coach Gilmore; he's exciting."
He also thinks highly of head coach Tim Beckman.
"Coach Beckman is a good coach. He gets excited. I can't explain it, but he's a good coach. I like him a lot."
Augusta is pleasantly surprised with all the recruiting interest he's been receiving.
"Yes it is. I like it. I never thought it would happen to me though, so I was excited."
He was especially pleased to hear from the Illini.
"It felt good to get the Illinois offer. I thought it was nice because it's not so far from home. And I really like the school."
The versatile big man has the speed and agility to play multiple positions on both offense and defense. Will it be hard to limit himself to just one position in college?
"Yeah, it might be. I'm used to going both ways, so it will be tough in college staying with one."
He doesn't have a position preference.
"It don't matter to me, as long as I'm out there. Offense or defense, it doesn't matter."
Most colleges will move players around until they find their best position, something Augusta seems to favor.
"That's what Michigan State said. They might try me at tight end also. They're recruiting me at both defensive end and defensive tackle. The U of I and Michigan State are at the top of my list so far."
What is he looking for in a college?
"Academics is important. I'm trying to major in Business. I talked to some people at the Business school today. It's a good Business school. I also look at colleges for how the coaches treat their players, and how they get along with the coaches."
Besides Illinois, he has visited three quality Midwest programs recently.
"I went to Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State. I don't have any other visits lined up yet."
Augusta has a general idea when he will make a decision.
"I might make my decision close to the football season. Get it out of the way before the season."
Also visiting Friday was Peoria Richwoods running back Kendrick Foster. Augusta expressed pleasure at some great news Foster received recently.
"I was really excited when I heard Kendrick got an offer from Illinois. He's hard to tackle; he's a good running back."
Star Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey took in the Illini Friday also. The Illini would be off to a great recruiting start if they could lure Augusta, Foster and Bailey.