Miguel Hermosillo, known to his friends as "Mike," made a major impression on Illinois football coaches at a one-day camp in Rockford last week. He ran a 4.42 forty and 4.17 shuttle, showing the kind of quickness the Illini seek. The Ottawa running back was rewarded with a scholarship offer. Now all he needs to do is find his best position.
"Coach (Tim) Beckman is recruiting me more as an athlete. I have no set position yet. I don't really have a preference; I'm just happy to get recruited. Coach (Billy) Gonzales wants me to work a little at slotback. Hopefully I can come in there and find a position rather than having a set position going in."
Hermosillo also participated with his high school team in a 7-on-7 camp on the Illinois campus Saturday. Gonzales had him help demonstrate proper pass-catching technique, and he showed previous training despite not working in a passing offense.
"That's something we work on. With Ottawa, I'll go outside, I'll go inside. It's pretty much running routes or getting the ball through the hole.
"That's why I like doing the 7-on-7's, so I can show that I can play wide receiver and play defense. At Ottawa, we just run the ball. We're not really a passing team. So hopefully the coaches will see even more than they did at Rockford."
Evaluation camps like the Illini one-day affairs give prospects a better chance to show coaches what they can do than major events like the recent Nike camp, which Hermosillo also attended on the UI campus as a running back.
"I had a set position at the Nike camp. They told you where to go. I wish they had put me on defense because I would have gotten more reps. There were a lot of kids at running back, so it was hard to get reps.
"It was still a good experience, and you got to go against a good group of guys. It was still fun, but I wish I was able to show a little bit more than what I was able to do."
In between the Rockford camp and Saturday's 7-on-7, the 5'-10", 190 pounder traveled to Phoenix for a camp sponsored by Arizona State. Since he grew up there, ASU could be major competition for the UI in his recruitment.
"I went to the Arizona State camp, and they were pretty impressed. They're kind of in a wait-and-see mode right now. Just like Coach Beckman, Coach (Todd) Graham wants to go in-state first before going out-of-state. I've got to wait on the people they've offered in-state, see what the deal is with that. Hopefully I can get an offer from them too."
He's lived in Illinois for 6 years now, but early loyalties are a factor in his college decision. His dad says the family would move back to Phoenix if he chose ASU.
"I moved from Arizona in fifth grade. I was from Phoenix. Ottawa is where my mom grew up. Yeah I like it there, but I also like it here too. I've been to a lot of games here, and I love the atmosphere.
"If I had to say right now, these would probably be the top two. It will be a big decision once the time comes. I'd like to get an offer from ASU, and maybe Iowa and Northwestern so I can see all my options."
Hermosillo is in no hurry to decide.
"I'd like to take some time with it. I'm not gonna be commit-happy and do it after the first visit. I don't want to be one of them kids that go to a school and then end up transferring and losing years."
He talks about his best traits as a player and areas he would like to improve.
"Probably my speed, quickness and agility. Hopefully I can be strong in everything. Maybe get a little bigger and faster. You can never stop working to get bigger, faster and stronger."
Hermosillo has a good idea what he wants from a college.
"I want to make sure about the academics. I want to go into Communications or Journalism. Hopefully I can go to a top-notch school with a good Communications program.
"Other than that, I want it to feel like a family. And I want my parents to see the games. I'm looking at every aspect of a college; I want a good quality of everything."