Beckham Back Again

Illinois has a strong relationship with Dayton-area high school Trotwood-Madison when it comes to football recruiting, and they got a return visit from one of their junior standouts on Saturday.

A year ago, Trotwood-Madison cornerback Kei Beckham visited Illinois for the opening game. This year, Beckham was back again to see the Illini in action again.

"It's all a great experience," he said. "Illinois is a great school. I want to see how they react after not having a great season last year. I want to see how the players and coaches handle it."

Beckham is being recruited to Illinois by both the coaches and former teammate Jarrod Clements. Both are telling him that picking a college is about more than what happens on Saturdays.

"They're saying that it's not just about what I'm looking for in football, but about a college in general," Beckham said. "I want to look at what a school is like and not just what football is like."

The last time Beckham was at Illinois, the old scoreboard was still being used. The new one was one of the first things he caught when he arrived.

"I noticed that right when I first came in," he said. "I'm liking that."

Beckham is seeing a lot of the same things he values about his high school team in the program at Illinois.

"They're telling me it's all a brotherhood," he said. "They're like family here and they tell me once you come here that it's a great experience here. My high school team is real tight too, so I'm hoping to have that same brotherhood in college."

Trotwood is always a team full of talent. But it isn't automatic that they're always that good. Beckham says it takes a lot of work and "paying it forward" to sustain the program.

"Really we always have talent, but what we do is play the guys that are second on the depth chart to get some experience," Beckham explained. "Between the guys that were starters last year and the newer guys, we all just jelled together and it went great."

Even with so much talent from last year's senior class now graduated, Beckham and his Trotwood-Madison team has the same goal in mind.

"We're definitely trying to get back to the state championship," he said. "We left some stuff on the field last year. We wanted to go undefeated, win our league, win state, and as a team we want to come together more too this year."

In addition to Illinois, Indiana, Akron, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan have offered the corner. Beckham is also receiving interest from UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State.

But the Illinois offer stands out to Beckham for a few reasons, including the fact that it was his first.

"It means a lot to me because they were the first ones to take a chance on me, and that means that they saw something in me that other schools didn't see," he said.

Following the Illinois visit, Beckham plans to see Michigan State, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Ohio State over the next few weeks.

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