Five That Flashed: Illinois Camp

Five players that stood out Saturday during Illinois' one-day camp held in Champaign.

Jarvion Franklin (pictured above) - This 2014 running back from Tinley Park, Ill., was easily the most physically impressive player taking part in Saturday's camp. He's around 6-feet tall, weighing at least 220 pounds, and he's built.

Franklin came to the camp with one goal in mind -- earning an offer. While that didn't happen immediately following the deal, he gave the coaches something to think about with his performance and demeanor.

I mention his demeanor because I liked the way this young man carried himself. It's not just that he was at the front of the line for every drill and rep (he definitely was). What I noticed was how much he talked to other campers, helping them out and, above all, encouraging them with positive reinforcement.

Sounds corny, but Franklin was like a coach and cheerleader out there while other players were going. He didn't just stand in line and wait to do his thing, which is something I found encouraging.

Personally, I don't know if he'll get the offer or not. Numbers are tight for the Illini in this class, and Franklin was a little stiff looking while running the 40 and in the shuttle, but he was clearly the best running back at the camp. And, from what I could tell, he had one of the best attitudes there as well. He's a kid you could root for good things to happen to.

Marcus Collins - Another player looking for an Illinois offer, Collins came down from Madison, Wisc., to take part in the action.

He was all over the place, too. He plays safety for Lafollette High, a 2014 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete that could remain in the secondary or play closer to the line of scrimmage at the college level.

Some schools are recruiting him as a safety. Illinois and others have him pegged as a Star or linebacker.

Given his size and what I saw Saturday, I think his best bet is the linebacker/Star route.

He spent a little bit of time with defensive coordinator Tim Banks and outside linebackers coach Al Seamonson, switching up which group he was in for drills.

Collins didn't get the word from the staff about the offer, but from the sound of things Illinois is going to keep a close eye on him throughout the rest of the summer.

Reese Ryan - Or Ryan Reese as I first called him on Twitter. My bad there. But for real, I'd never heard of this kid, not even a couple hours into the camp. Once the one-on-ones started, though, Ryan jumped out and surprised everyone watching.

He's tall, but still kind of skinny. So when the rising junior from Lexington Catholic (Kentucky) started zipping passes into tight windows and showing off his arm strength on deeper routes, I immediately dove into the list of players to see who he was.

Offensive Bill Cubit knew who he was. He coached him hard during the second half of the camp. Ryan's arm is strong, but Cubit was hammering the finer points to help the kid out. It seemed like every rep brought something new for Cubit to add to the discussion.

That's a good thing. Cubit's extra attention meant he cared. And the fact that Illinois offered afterwards was a good sign, too.

Julian Hylton - This 2014 defensive back lined up against Mike Dudek, who came off the sideline to take part in one-on-ones, and time and time again he got beat.

You know what though? Every time Dudek lined back up, Hylton was there ready to go again. Dudek couldn't be stopped by anybody at the camp, but Hylton didn't back down. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds Hylton probably won't be a corner at the next level. Safety might be his ticket.

He's got great speed and ball skills and was the most impressive defensive back at the camp. He did so well that he earned an offer, an obvious nod of approval by the staff.

Tori Millender - This 2014 linebacker from Belleville West would be the first to tell you -- he didn't run the 40 very well Saturday. It just wasn't his best day in that area.

But he made up from it once the drills began. Millender is a big kid, listed at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, but he looks bigger than that. He jumped out at me intercepting passes in individual work. He showed good hands, anticipation and body control.

He was the best linebacker on the field, which set up a few good matchups with Franklin once the one-on-ones started. Those were fun to watch. Again, not sure if Millender will get an offer, but he did his best to state his case on Saturday.

Note - I didn't include Dudek or Chayce Crouch, both of which took part in one-on-ones. Those two were easily the best at their position, but I kept this list confined to those who were actual campers.


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