While Jason Bargy is just starting to tap into his talent, the Momence (Ill.) Class of 2019 defensive end's ceiling is so high that his first offer came from the Big Ten.
Illinois recently extended a scholarship offer to one the top in-state talents in the Class of 2019.
"It was good just being the first one," Bargy told Illini Inquirer. "And only as a sophomore too, it's pretty incredible. My mouth dropped. It means I got to step it up and stay humble, keep doing what I'm doing and go to the next step."
Bargy followed up the offer with an unofficial to visit to Illinois last Saturday, where he watched Lovie Smith take his team through a padded spring practice. What stood out?
"The academics and what it takes to get in (at Illinois), how the practice runs, basically everything about how Illini nation is," Bargy said. "I wanted to just see how they run their practice and how their d-linemen works and stuff like that."
Bargy now said he is focused on developing more as a football player.
"I want to get better with my hands, my feet and just getting better," Bargy said.
Bargy has physical ability that just can't be taught. The sophomore, who plays defensive end and running back for Momence, is 6-foot-5 and pretty bulked up (215-225 pounds) for his age. He also has standout speed. Bargy runs the 100- and 200-meter dash for the track team and helped lead Momence's relay team to the state meet last year.
Bargy is raw as a defensive end but has a lot of time to grow.
"As a defensive end, there's a lot of just being sophomore, he's got these long arms and he's still growing so he's still growing into his body," Momence coach Wayne Walker told Illini Inquirer last fall. "He's just got to naturally grow into his balance and things like that. He's gradually getting better in practice."
His coach says Bargy's work ethic and drive (Bargy was Acadmic All-State last year) should help him reach his vast potential.
"He's something special," Walker said. "He's a quiet kid. He's probably his hardest critic. We still get on him and expect things on him, but he already knows (our criticism) before we come over. ...That's a good thing from that kind of kid."