Power 'Broeker'

The Illini are busy trying to close up an already solid 2015 recruiting class, and along the way, they have added a couple of talented preferred walk-ons, including most recently Springfield (SHG) OL Jack Broeker.

Illinois was the first school to extend an offer to Springfield (IL) Sacred Heart-Griffin offensive lineman Quinn Oseland in October of 2013, but ultimately, Oseland ended up choosing to continue his football career at Minnesota.

But that didn't keep the Illini away from Sacred Heart Griffin, a school that has produced a multitude of division one talent, including current Illinois receiver Malik Turner.

Their persistence paid dividends recently when senior offensive tackle Jack Broeker, who started on the state championship team opposite Oseland at tackle, accepted a preferred walk-on offer with the Illini.

The 6'5", 260 pound Broeker held scholarships from both Butler and Drake, but found it difficult to turn down an opportunity to play at the University of Illinois.

"I was considering a few other schools," Broeker said, "but Illinois was the most appealing."

In addition to his two scholarship offers, Indiana made a similar offer to Broeker as a preferred walk-on.

One of the key factors in Broeker's decision was the bond he already has with the aforementioned Turner, who was a teammate of Broeker's at SHG.

"I went to the same high school as Malik so I talked to him and actually visited with him today," Broeker said on Sunday.

Beyond the relationships, Broeker was impressed with what Illinois had to offer overall, including the fact that he can play his college ball right in central Illinois.

"The proximity to home was nice," he said. "I liked the coaching staff. Coach (Tom) Brattan and Coach (Tim) Beckman were awesome. I also liked all of the facilities and the family atmosphere the team brought. The academics are great and the campus is nice. It felt right."

Just a few days prior to Broeker's commitment, Illinois also landed a commitment from another preferred walk-on in Concord (IL) Triopia fullback Dean Arendt, another west-central Illinois recruit.

With signing day just days away, only a few open spots remain, but the Illini are hoping to build momentum and finish strong into the offseason.

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