Thornton Visits Illini, Loving the Process

Talented junior Leon Thornton says he loves the recruiting process, with his latest move being a trip to Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois may be 1-15 in the Big Ten the past two seasons, but Leon Thornton is focused only on the future.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver from Lombard, Ill., (Montini Catholic) says anything can happen and that he believes in the Illini staff.

"I mean, each season you never know what's going to happen," Thornton said. "Take Auburn for example. They went 2-10 the year before, and then they were in the National Championship. Great things can happen to any team."

Thornton visited campus this weekend with 22 other underclassmen and witnessed good friend quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald commit to the Orange and Blue.

""It was great. I had a good time," Thornton said. "I really enjoyed myself. Being here with all my friends, getting to meet the staff, I enjoyed it a lot."

Thornton currently holds four offers – Illinois, Indiana, Western Michigan and Toledo. It's early yet and Thornton admits he enjoys, "playing the recruiting game." Still, the homestate Illini will be a factor until the end.

"Of course my mom likes Illinois the most, because its close to home, two hours away," he said. "I'm going to go to whichever school I feel most comfortable at. Whichever school I feel is the most family-oriented, just wherever I like the most."

Thornton has already developed a good relationship with head coach Tim Beckman and receivers coach Mike Bellamy.

"Coach Beckman actually came and saw me earlier last week," Thornton said. "Me and him spoke really briefly. I like him a lot. He's an energetic guy, and I love what he's doing with the program. I feel like it's going to be a good team in the future.

"Mike Bellamy, he's been talking to me all the time, I love the guy. He's awesome."

Don't expect a decision anytime soon though. For now, this rising star is reeling in offers, gauging interest from each coach and school to, saying he's playing the process to "just seeing where it takes (him)."


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