California CB Dallas Branch: Illini 'one of my top schools'

Los Angeles cornerback recaps his Illini official visit and updates his recruitment plans

Illinois is the only power-five program to offer Dallas Branch so far. And over the weekend, the Illini made their sales pitch to the Los Angeles (Calif.) Bishop Mora Salesian cornerback who made an official visit to Champaign.

"It was great," Branch said. "I hung out with some of the players and checked out the volleyball game. What stood out to me the most was the coaches and other people around the program."

Branch, who also holds offers from Hawaii and Ball State, met most of the Illini coaches for the first time and spent some one-on-one time with head coach Lovie Smith. The Illini are looking for immediate impact cornerbacks in the Class of 2017 and think Branch can come in and compete.

"I talked to Coach (Hardy) Nickerson, Coach (Paul) Williams, and Coach Lovie the most," Branch said. "They were just telling me how this recruiting class is important because it's their first one and they need players who come in and make an impact early and they feel like I can be one of those players."

Branch made the trip with teammate Nick Pickett, an Oregon commit. Branch said he and Pickett do discuss playing at the same school.

"It'd be great to play at the same school as Nick," Branch said. "It feels good to have someone you know with you when you go somewhere you've never been before."

The Illini have set themselves up as one of Branch's top options for whenever he makes a decision.

"Illinois is definitely one of my top schools," Branch said. "I just want to weigh out my options and making sure I'm making the best decision for me."

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