Hylton: "It's my home state"

Julian Hylton, like another recent commitment Matt Domer, said that at the end of the day, playing in his home state just felt right.

For Lincoln Way North DB Julian Hylton, the decision to commit to Illinois was pretty clear cut.

"I just like the message Coach Beckman was promoting with Our State, Our Team," he said. "He's been recruiting the better players in Illinois and he knows he can expect a lot from us because we work hard. It's our state and our family and friends live here. The education is also great and the coaching staff is awesome."

The commitment to Illinois made a lot of sense for Hylton too. After receiving the offer at camp in June, Hylton felt like the time was right.

"My parents and I talked about it," he said. "We looked at everything and Illinois is a great school and they've been interested in me for a long time. It's been a great experience every time I've been down there."

Hylton had other Illinois commits in his ear especially after te offer came. One of the first was Mike Dudek, who went up against Hylton several times at the camp.

"They were telling me that we should do it together," he said. "We can make big changes and turn it around. We have great unity. It was easy to talk to them. They're an easygoing group of guys. Mike texted me after the camp and told me he wanted me at Illinois. He really promoted the school and wanted to do great things."

And with an increasing number of Illinois players coming out of the west suburban Chicago area, Hylton thinks there's a good chance they could start working out together well before any of them sets foot on campus.

"It's possible," Hylton said. "I'm trying to connect with some of the guys around here. We may eventually set something up. I don't know what they've been planning already, but we'll see what happens."

As pumped as some of the recruits were to hear that their work paid off, the coaches were equally excited to land Hylton.

"They were all excited," he said. "Coach Ward and Coach Banks were both ecstatic that I committed. They realized that it was a great opportunity for me and they were excited for me."

Building the relationship with coach Banks was almost effortless to Hylton. And having the rapport with his future position coach has already paid dividends.

"It was easy really," he said. "Coach Banks is great to talk to and whenever he talked to me he was honest with me. He told me what to work on and I would ask him what I needed to do better. it helped me out a lot."

And with plenty of early playing time up for grabs at his spot, Hylton is ready to get to work and challenge for his spot.

"Most definitely, I'm always working," he said. "Now I know specifically where to work out at. I work hard at every position but I'll be doing a lot of footwork drills and cornerback drills."

He continued, "I'm just going to come in and work hard. Whenever the coaches feel I'm ready, I'll go. But I'm going to work my butt off to get ready and perform at that level."

Hylton is a bigger corner, but he thinks that can work to his advantage, especially matching up against the bigger receivers of the Big Ten.

"My size and speed is a big advantage," he said. "I break up a lot of passes and I can cover a lot more area. It makes it easier for me as a corner, but I get to use my athleticism and makes my job easier."

Speaking of speed, Hylton might give Dudek a run for his money when it comes to being the fastest man in the class now. And there's only one way to settle that.

"Maybe when we get down there sometime (we could race)," He said. "Mike is pretty fast, so it would be fun to get to go up against him."

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