Springfield Lineman Hopes He Earned UI Offer

The city of Springfield used to provide the University of Illinois with a number of athletes, but the supply has dwindled markedly in recent years. Someone who is getting a look from the Fighting Illini football coaching staff this year is offensive lineman James Torgerson, who did well in a recent UI summer camp.

James Torgerson attended the Illinois summer camp in East Peoria recently.

"I thought it was really good. I liked it a lot and thought I really did well. I liked the way the things were set up. I think I impressed the coach. I did especially well in the agilities, and in the one-on-ones. I feel like I was the best o-lineman out here athletically and physically."

That is probably correct. The 6'-4", 255 pounder ran a 5 flat forty and showed good explosiveness in his standing triple jump. He also got good feedback from Illini offensive line coach Luke Butkus.

"Coach Butkus told me I did really well. I impressed. He thinks I'm a really good player and wants me to give him a call about coming to visit so he can show me around Illinois, see the campus and find out what they're about. I visited on Junior Day, but he wants to talk to me further about recruiting and all that."

Torgerson was impressed with UI coaches as well.

"It was good working with Coach Butkus. All the coaches there look like a good staff, great guys. And they really seem to love what they're doing."

He shared his assets as a lineman, but his list of things he wants to improve is longer.

"I'm a really good pass blocker. I'm athletic and quick, and I just want to play.

"I definitely need to get better with run blocking. I'm good at drive blocking, but I can get a lot better. I need to play lower, that's my main thing. I need my pads lower than my opponent. I need to get bigger, but that will come eventually. And I can always get better at pass blocking."

Size is a consideration in his recruitment. He will need a lot of work in the weight room to gain the size and strength needed in the Big 10. In addition, his height makes a difference for some teams in terms of what position on the line is best for him.

"I've been a tackle all my life, but I'll play anywhere on the line. Some schools say I can play tackle, some say I'm a guard because I'm only 6'-4". I think I'm athletic enough to play tackle, so I prefer tackle."

The Springfield High School star has only one offer to date, but he's optimistic more will be on the way soon.

"I've been hearing from Illinois and Northwestern. I went to a day camp at Northwestern, and their line coach told me had three guys not committed, I would have got offered. Northern Illinois is really interested. I was told I was the best offensive lineman at their day camp. Miami of Ohio likes me and is in touch with me. Also Ball State and Western Michigan.

"Eastern Illinois has given me an offer. Western Illinois is about to give me an offer, as is Illinois State. Five or six MAC schools say they're going to offer me."

The articulate senior has the brains to be accepted to any school in the country, and his possible majors reflect a strong interest in academics.

"Probably Business or History. I'm not sure yet. History is my best subject in school, and I have a really good memory. Academics is a big part of college for me. I got a 29 on the ACT."

Given his athleticism and performance in the Illini camp, perhaps it is understandable why Torgerson might be a little defensive when reacting to why he has so few offers to date.

"I think I've gotten better, and I really think I've shown coaching staffs I'm athletic and a really good player. I feel I deserve to get looked at by some of the bigger schools."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories