Recruiting Not Over for Fitzgerald

The first commitment for Illinois in the 2015 class, quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald is still actively involved in the recruiting process.

CHAMPAIGN - Despite his verbal commitment to Illinois weeks ago, the recruiting game is just beginning for Jimmy Fitzgerald.

It's no longer the normal process, though. Now the 6-3, 205-pound Centennial quarterback is throwing the pitch instead of catching it.

"Definitely, I've kind of talked to the coaches a little bit," he said. "I've kind of become a recruiter almost, just talking up Illinois and telling other players how much we need them."

Case in point: Wednesday night Fitzgerald attended the Illinois-Nebraska basketball game along with 2015 in-state offensive linemen Gabe Megginson and Quinn Oseland.

"They're both great players. We're definitely trying to get them here," Fitzgerald, sporting an Illinois baseball cap, said. "If we can get both of them that would be awesome. Obviously they're great lineman, so to get them to anchor down the line would be huge."

Said Oseland: "I met him on my last visit (in the fall). I got to hang out with him quite a bit. I've gotten to know him pretty well."

When he's not working as a volunteer recruiter, Fitzgerald takes the drive to Chicago to play with his 7-on-7 travel team. The speed of the game and the competition is fierce, he says, which is good to take part in during the offseason months. Eventually, it seems, everything revolves back around to Fitzgerald's future football home. A handful of kids he encounters in The Windy City have offers from Illinois.

You know what that means.

"It's good to spend time with those guys and always talk about Illinois," he said.

As for his personal growth as a player, Fitzgerald is attacking every area of the game. There's one weakness, one that's not often cited, he's aggressively attacking.

"I'd say probably just, honestly, staying flexible," he said. "Flexibility was kind of a problem last year. Staying flexible and keeping the accuracy and arm strength."

It sounds like a lot to juggle, and it probably is. Coaches from other colleges still call. Fitzgerald is polite, but he's told everybody that asks he's 100 percent to Illinois. That's at least one aspect of the process he's gotten out of the way.

"It's good to have my decision made," he said. "Now I can focus on the road ahead."

That road may not include his recruitment. But there's plenty of pitches left to be made.


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