Crouch, Dudek Getting a Jump-Start

Future Illini offensive players Chayce Crouch and Mike Dudek plan to enroll early and room together.

CHAMPAIGN - It's never too early for a quarterback and wide receiver to begin developing a good relationship.

That's exactly what Chayce Crouch and Mike Dudek are in the process of doing. It began at a summer camp at Illinois in June, when Crouch threw passes to Dudek for the first time.

It continued Saturday in Memorial Stadium with both visiting and hanging out together during Illinois' Big Ten home opener against Wisconsin.

The plan is to further tighten the bond come January. Both are set to enroll early and will room together.

"When I was at camp we could already start to tell it was important to develop a good chemistry," Crouch said. "I've never thrown to a person as good as him. It's definitely going to be good to develop that chemistry and a life-long friendship."

Getting a head start on the college career is important for any player, but the benefits for a quarterback are even more obvious. Crouch said he and recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh had a few conversations after his verbal commitment in the spring about graduating high school a semester early. That decision was an easy one to make.

"I think I really needed that in terms of getting used to the college life and getting use to the bigger campus," Crouch said.

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Newark, Ohio, Crouch said he's eager to learn from current Illinois quarterbacks Wes Lunt and Aaron Bailey. He met Lunt this weekend and has heard enough about Bailey to know he'll be in good company.

"It's going to be fun coming in and getting to know those guys and playing on their team, and competing with them will be a great experience," Crouch said.

Dudek, meanwhile, can't wait to get to Champaign for good. Called Mr. Illinois by fellow commitment Austin Roberts, Dudek is known for his active involvement in recruiting other players to join him.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound product from Naperville, Ill. product says he has a laid back approach.

"You don't want to badger them a whole lot," he said. "You get to know them and then you start talking football. That's what I do. That's my whole approach. Just don't go straight into football, don't just badger them about Illinois right away."

The way the rest of the class rounds out remains to be seen. Dudek and Crouch, though, have their plan solidified. First-year offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and the emergence of a prolific passing attack ended any doubts either of the two may have had.

"It's definitely great because everything he's told me has been true so far," Crouch said of Cubit. "Their passing offense has been electric. They've been putting up great numbers. Watching them every game has been great. Every game I watch makes me want to get here."

Added Dudek: "His offense is sick. I love watching them every Saturday. I look forward to seeing how many points and how many yards they're going to put up. They throw the ball a lot, so I'm excited for that. I'm excited to get the ball and in space to make some plays."


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