Illini Host Talented 2016 WR

Desmond Fitzpatrick is one of the top junior receivers in the Midwest, and he took a visit to Illinois this weekend to see the Illinois offense in action.

Farmington High School in Michigan is one of the most talent-rich programs in the midwest. The program reloads year after year, and one of their top junior prospects, receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick, came to Champaign for the Illini's game against Texas State.

At Farmington, Fitzpatrick is used in different positions all over the field. His athleticism and versatility make him a weapon from several locations in the offensive formation.

"Really running the ball," he said. "Coach said he wants to put the ball in my hands a lot more this season. I get reverses and handoffs. We're also throwing a lot more this year. Coach will put me in motion and out wide, and even in the slot. Sometimes I'll even lineup at tight end or in the slot or in the backfield."

Fitzpatrick is young, so he's still working on his physique, but he has the ball skills to be an effective receiver now. As he grows stronger, he will be a much tougher player to defend.

"The physical part (is what I'm working on)," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster. I want to work on my hands. Sometimes I try to run after the catch too much and lose focus. I just want to focus more."

Fitzpatrick isn't the only talented prospect at Farmington. Linebacker teammate David Reese also came along on the visit. Fitzpatrick says those are just a couple of the future college football players on that roster.

"Going to Farmington, it's a great place to be," he said. "I'm blessed to be there. My coach said this might be the best team he's ever coached. We have some heavily-recruited guys. We feel like we have a chance to make a state championship this year."

For Fitzpatrick, Saturday was his first time taking in the game day atmosphere at Illinois.

"Last year I didn't get a chance to make it to a game, but least year I made it to a spring practice," he said.

But Fitzpatrick has stayed in contact with Illinois WR coach Mike Bellamy, who played in the NFL with Fitzpatrick's father. The relationship goes back a long way and has grown even closer now that Fitzpatrick is firmly on the Illinois radar.

"We're really close," he said of Coach Bellamy. "I like Coach Bellamy a lot. We talk pretty often. We have a really close relationship and talk a lot on twitter and Facebook and all that."

Fitzpatrick also liked the assurance he got from Illinois Offensive Coordinator Bill Cubit, who explained that Fitzpatrick's role at Illinois would be similar to his duties at Farmington.

"I was talking with the offensive coordinator, and he was saying they like taking their best receiver and moving him around a lot," he said. "He uses his best players."

Fitzpatrick is quickly picking up offers from all over the country, including several from the Big Ten and some from the SEC.

"Louisville just offered me on Thursday," he said. "Kentucky, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Alabama, Arkansas, Pittsburgh are the schools that have offered me."

Visits aren't one of the main things on Fitzpatrick's mind right now. The junior receiver may see one more school this fall, but his team is his first priority.

"I think we're going to Michigan State soon, but my dad and I aren't really focused on recruiting right now," he said. "I just want to focus on my team now."

The elder Fitzpatrick has been taking a lot of the load off of Desmond so far in the recruiting process. Desmond is grateful for the role his dad has played in not only his recruitment, but also his life in general.

"My dad has been handling a lot of my recruiting so I don't have to worry about it," he explained. "He tells me not to obsess over it. Just keep that stuff in my back pocket and focus on my season and making my team better. It helped a lot having him in my life so much. He's taught me everything I know so far and I'm blessed to have him."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories