Illinois First for Brown

Illinois entered the mix for in-state sophomore running back Dre Brown out of Dekalb, extending the sophomore his first college offer on Tuesday.

A lot of high school prospects wait until late in their senior year before they receive their first division one scholarship, but for Dekalb sophomore running back Dre Brown, the wait is already over after receiving an offer from Illinois.

"It's crazy." he said. "I've always wondered what it would be like to get offered this early. But it finally came true and it's a blessing."

Brown got the good news from Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh and running backs coach Tim Salem.

"Coach Golesh and Coach Salem have been recruiting me," he said. "It was great. We've just talked about Illinois and the times I visited for camps and for games and they offered me a full-ride scholarship."

Brown has already been to Illinois this season, but now with an offer in hand, a visit this weekend and possibly next weekend are on his travel agenda.

"I think I'll probably visit this weekend and maybe next weekend too," Brown said. "I was amazed. I'd never seen anything like it before. The facilities and the campus were top-notch. I went to the camp in June and we've been in touch ever since."

Brown is still working his way up at Dekalb, but this past season might just be a glimpse into what the future holds for the dynamic back.

"As a team we had a rough season," he said. "I only played 8 games, but I had 750 yards and about 9 touchdowns. I split carries a bit and we were a passing offense. We had a new coach and a new offense."

Part of what slowed his progression was a change in the offensive scheme at Dekalb. But now with a new system, he's getting used to running more in space and catching passes, both things he thinks could translate to the Illinois offense.

"The new offense was a lot different," said Brown. "We used to run a pistol and the I formation, but now we run more of a spread, so it's a lot different. But yeah I got used to it. Plus Illinois runs a spread so I'd be ready for that."

When he was young, however, Brown grew up following a different Big Ten team. But now that the reality of playing major college football is setting in, Brown says the playing field is level.

"I grew up following Ohio State," he said. "That was my dream school when I was little. Now I'm more open to everyone really."

Being just a sophomore, the recruiting process can get overwhelming easily, but Brown has managed it all very well so far, especially with some help from his family.

"I have a lot of help from my mom and she's been helping me the whole way," said Brown. "My whole family has been really supportive of me. It's a little crazy because I'm just a sophomore. I'm handling it pretty well though. I follow a lot of recruiting, and I always wanted that to be me. And it finally happened."

Brown, despite being out in Dekalb, does keep in touch with a lot of the recruits in the area, including Illinois running back commit and Ottawa native Miguel Hermosillo.

"Yeah I talk to some of the guys," he said. "I've talked to with Miguel Hermosillo from Ottawa sometimes. I'll be on the Core 6 7-on-7 team this year too. So I know a few of those guys.'

Still young, Brown is just starting to get a handle on where he wants to focus his efforts as he develops his skills, but he already has the physical tools and flexibility to be a big-time player.

"As far as my weaknesses go, I want to become a better blocker," he said. "But I'd say I'm pretty fast. I ran a 4.4 at the Illinois camp. I have good acceleration, good vision, and I can catch the ball out of the backfield. So I'm pretty versatile too."

Brown hasn't really hit the visit trail yet other than a visit to hometown Northern Illinois. But with his first major offer in hand, he's sure to see more attention come his way soon.

"The only other visit I've taken is NIU so far," Brown said. "I haven't really been talking to too many other schools, so I don't really have any other visits planned, but hopefully it'll open up now."

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