Jirehl Brock's recruitment has a chance to explode in the upcoming months. Illinois became the third Big Ten school to offer the in-state running back from Quincy (Ill.) High School.
“Coach Nathan Scheelhaase called my coach earlier today and said that he was coming down to Quincy and he told him that he would be offering me,” Brock told Illini Inquirer. “Being an in-state guy, I was kind of happy. I was honestly surprised that it didn’t happen earlier in my recruitment.”
Brock had a breakout sophomore year at Quincy as he rumbled for 1,389 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He had a memorable night in a victory against Rock Island when he rushed for 304 yards and six touchdowns. He tied the single-game school record for rushing touchdowns and broke the single-game school record for yards.
His dominance quickly initiated offers from Iowa and Michigan State, and he also received an offer from Iowa State a couple weeks ago. But it is inevitable that once Brock showcases his skills at the upcoming camps, he could accumulate many more offers before his junior year.
“June is going to be my recruiting month, so I’ll have to get all my visits and camps scheduled out,” Brock said. “Hopefully some other schools see something in me.”
Although it’s very early in the recruiting process, Iowa has laid a very strong foundation with Brock.
“I went to Iowa for their junior day, and that’s when they offered me,” Brock said. “Everything about Iowa seemed right. The coaching staff was great, I love talking to them. The facilities were amazing, and they just felt like a place that even when I am done playing, they’ll take care of me. All their coaches are former players there and they really take care of their past players.”
Michigan State undoubtedly will try and use the NFL accomplishments of former Spartan running backs Le’Veon Bell and Jeremy Langford to try and persuade Brock.
“I’ve already been on an unofficial visit to Michigan State back in October,” Brock said. “The atmosphere was amazing.”
Former San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is now in charge at Michigan and they’ve also shown a lot of interest in Brock.
“I’m actually a 49ers fan and when Jim left I was sad, but they’ve shown some interest in me,” Brock said. “They’ve also came down and talked to my coach about me. It’s a really good program and I would love to have a chance to be a part of that.”
Brock doesn’t have to make a decision for a couple years and he’s adamant that he’ll let the process play itself out before he makes his choice.
“I’m going to keep my options open,” Brock said. “I’d love to stay close to home so that I could see my parents and so that they could see me come play. But even after talking to my coach and my family, I’ve decided that I needed to pick the best fit for me and not just base it off location. I have to also base it off of what I’m going to major in and the staff there. I need to like the staff and be able to learn from them.”
Basketball is also a big part of Brock’s life. He played a major role for Quincy High and he also competes with the Illinois Irish 16U Elite team which means his schedule is extremely hectic. Despite all the big football offers, he’ll continue to play plenty of basketball.
“I’m going to stick with basketball,” Brock said. “I’m a dedicated person, and I don’t think me playing only football would be right. I love competing and I love playing basketball. It wouldn’t feel right not playing it. Playing basketball here in Quincy is very unique. We have an Illinois alum that played basketball at Quincy (former Illini great Bruce Douglas). Basketball is really close to my heart, and I love that sport.”
He hasn’t finished his sophomore year of high school, but Brock is already thinking about his future after his football career is over.
“There are really good programs out there,” Brock said. “I want to be in a really good program so that even after I’m done playing, I’ll always have a place to come home and still be able to talk to all those people and still have the connections so it’ll be a little easier out of college. Really just making sure they care about me as a person instead of just me playing football.”
Illinois hosted Brock for an unofficial visit last October, and they’ll need to start showing some improvements if they want to fight off their Big Ten rivals for his services.
“I know Coach (Lovie) Smith is putting pieces together right now,” Brock said. “They would have to show me what we have in store. It would be like selling to me that if I come and play, there are other pieces we have to the puzzle and it’s going to fit right.”