Illinois First for 2016 In-State Receiver

Illinois coaches have gone coast to coast this spring, hitting the recruiting trail both high and low, but on Monday they were in "Illini Nation" and offered one of the state's top sophomore prospects.

The first offer for a recruit is often a very special occasion. That might be an understatement for 2016 Naperville (IL) Central WR Emmanuel Rugamba, who said he was "speechless" when he received his first college offer on Monday from Illinois.

Being that first offer meant a lot to Rugamba. Not only was it a huge weight off of his shoulders, it made a big impression on him for the Illini to be the first to take that step.

"The first contact I had with Illinois before the offer was maybe the week before the offer when they came to my school," he said. "It definitely gives Illinois a relationship that no other school can fill."

And being just down the road in Champaign doesn't hurt Illinois' cause either.

"Being close to home and family is always a big factor," Rugamba said.

Illinois coaches are hoping Rugamba stays "home" for college like many of his other fellow in-state recruits.

"They're building up the program," he said. "I love how they are trying to get every in-state recruit they can and build a family for the future."

Rugamba is hearing from the likes of Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Purdue in addition to Illinois. He says he hopes to get out and see a few of the others soon.

"I'm hoping to get to Iowa State, Michigan State, and I'll be at Ohio State this weekend," he said.

Still just a sophomore, Rugamba already knows what will really matter to him when evaluating programs and universities.

First thing would be academics," he said. "The wide receiver coach is a bit thing for me. I want to feel comfortable around the coaches and get along with them. Those are my top two things, academics and the receiver coaching."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories