Flynn in Champaign Again

Flynn Nagel is having very productive junior season, and it's meant success for his team. He was down in Champaign again to watch the Illini for their match against Wisconsin.

Week 9 is already here for Illinois high school football players. The season flew by, and what was originally going to be a marquee matchup for Flynn Nagel and Marist fell through, and now Marist will look to finish their regular season on a high note and carry momentum into the playoffs.

"Our last game of the year was supposed to be a team from Kentucky," Nagel said, "but they backed out so now we're playing Moline."

Nagel so far has been the Robin to Notre Dame pledge Nic Weishar's "Batman". Both are excellent pass-catchers, and Nagel knows how valuable Weishar is to both the team and to him.

"It's unbelievable having Nick on the team," he said. "He's a huge asset and he's probably the best receiver in the state and the best tight end. He and I together is hard to stop as a defense. We're trying the best we can to help our team get as far as we can."

He continued, "I came in knowing that he was unbelievable. I wanted to have someone like that on the offense I'd be on. It's great working with him across the field."

Having Weishar across from him is a luxury this year, and Nagel knows that, and while it would be easy to think too much about what challenges next year might bring, he is staying focused on this season.

"It's obviously a lot easier this year than it will be next year," he said, "but we'll just see where it is when we get to next year. It will be tough without him."

Still, Nagel knows he has to always be improving. He's a hard worker off the field and has high expectations for himself.

"I've been working a lot on my footwork, my speed, and my hops," he said. "I want to get my route running perfect, get a 36 inch vertical, and get to a 4.3 40-yard dash by the end of my senior year. Those are my goals and that's what I'm trying to get like."

If anyone has watched the Broncos this season, Peyton Manning has spread the wealth to several receivers, but one guy always has a knack for getting open when it matters most, and that guy is someone Nagel compares himself to.

"I like to compare myself to Wes Welker," he said. "We have a lot of similarities between us. I think I'm that type of receiver and I'd like to be like him someday."

But someone else that Nagel can relate to plays just a short drive away in the western Chicago suburbs. And that receiver is Mike Dudek.

"I actually watched Mike's film. He's an unbelievable player," Nagel said. "Coach Bellamy talks about him and I both being in the slot if I came here, and I think we could do damage if we were both in the slot. Mike and I have a lot of similarities. We both have great speed and great hands and can get open in space and do damage."

The relationship between Nagel and Illinois has been growing significantly since the start of the summer. The revitalized offense is a big selling point, but he is looking at Illinois as a whole.

"I like everything," he said. "It's one big family here and everything feels comfortable. The coaches are so understanding. They talk about how it's our state and our team. There aren't cocky guys who act like you're not there. These guys welcome you in like you're part of the family."

Illinois is one of a few schools that would give Nagel an opportunity to play close to home. It is something that is important to him.

"The home state thing plays a role," he said. "I want to play somewhere that my family and friends can watch me and I want to be close and stay somewhere that they can all come see me."

Nagel is well connected with several recruits in his home-state, including a pair of Illinois commitments.

"I'm really good family friends with the Allegrettis so I talk to them a lot," he said. "I also talk to Jack Beneventi and Miles Boykin a lot. I just text them and see how they're doing. They both have offers to Illinois. I talk to (Mike) Dudek too, and I got to meet all the 2014 commits. They're all really cool and it was great to meet them."

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