Meet The Illini Class of 2004: Part I of III

In the first part of a three-part story, IlliniBoard.com will take a look at the new recruits that just signed with the Fighting Illini football team. In this first update, we will look at the first eight players alphabetically in the class: Charles Bailey, Jr., Brock Bolen, Anthony Brodnax, Sam Carson III, Bryant Creamer, Jody Ellis, Kisan Flakes, and Xavier Fulton. <br><br> Read more on the Fighting Illini Football Recruiting Class of 2004 from IlliniBoard.com in this story.

DB Charles Bailey, Jr.
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195
High School: Northrop HS
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
Visit Date: 12/12/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Photo Courtesy the University of Illinois
Bailey committed to Illinois after his December visit to Champaign. When discussing his commitment to the Fighting Illini with Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com in January Charles said it was an "easy decision" to attend Illinois. The reasons he gave for deciding on playing with the Fighting Illini in college included: "my friend (Kevin Mitchell) is at Illinois and he loves it there" and that he "fell in love with the facilities, the campus, and the educational opportunities at Illinois." Charles selected Illinois over offers from a few MAC schools and interest from other Big Ten schools.

Charles received numerous honors in his high school career. He was named an All-State and All-Region player during his senior season and finished his career at Northrop HS with 113 tackles, 42 assists, 14 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks. Charles received the Euell Wilson Award, which is given to the football player who also excels in the classroom and community. While running track, Charles was named the Fastest Hurdler in the Nation after set an indoor record in the 55-meter hurdles with a 7.4.

RON TURNER ON CHARLES BAILEY, JR.
"Charles is a very athletic football player who excelled at both running back and defensive back during his high school career. We are projecting him as a safety here at Illinois. He has outstanding speed which is evidenced by his great track times."

RB Brock Bolen
Height: 6-1
Weight: 230
High School: Valley View HS
Hometown: Springboro, OH
Visit Date: 12/5/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Brock Bolen committed to Illinois this summer, and had his official visit in Champaign in December. When discussing his commitment earlier this summer with Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, Bolen said that "when he looked at all the pro's and con's of each school, Illinois came out on top. Illinois was the perfect fit for me. I want to play running back in college and that's what Coach Turner said I'm going to play." Brock selected Illinois over Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Brock amassed some monster numbers in high school, including a gaudy 2,287 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns as a junior. As a senior Bolen carried the ball for 2,087 yards and scored 40 touchdowns. On his high school career, Brock scored 108 touchdowns. Some honors that were thrown Brock's way by various recruiting analysts include being named the No. 1 FB prospect in the country by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming, a National Top-100 recruit by the Chicago Sun Times, and a TheInsiders.com Midwest Hot 100 prospect.

Brock has already enrolled at Illinois, and will participate in Spring practice with the team. Brock is expected to play next season for the Illini as a true freshman in one back situations.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT BROCK BOLEN
Chris Pool, TheInsiders.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
"I loved Brock Bolen on film because he's just a football player, nothing fancy, just line up and play tough, hard nosed, Midwest football."

If I'm alone in a dark alley, I want Brock Bolen with me. They don't come any tougher than this young man and he's going to be a very good college football player."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner on Signing Day
"Brock is a very versatile football player with great running skills. One of his greatest assets is his ability to catch balls out of the backfield. He is also a tremendous blocker and a physical player who fits the mold of what we are looking for in a running back."

DB Anthony Brodnax
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180
High School: Lakeside HS
Hometown: Lithonia, GA
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Photo Courtesy the University of Illinois
Anthony was one of the final pieces to the puzzle that ended up as Illinois' football recruiting Class of 2004. Brodnax is coming to Illinois as another athlete for the defensive backfield. In high school Anthony played on both sides of the ball rushing for over 900 yards and recording 48 tackles in his senior season. In high school Anthony was a three-sport athlete playing basketball and football, as well as running track.

RON TURNER ON ANTHONY BRODNAX
"Anthony is extremely quick and has great acceleration to the football. He is physical and aggressive, especially for a cornerback. He has the potential to be a great cover corner, who can also be very effective in run support."

LB Sam Carson III
Height: 6-1
Weight: 225
40-Time: 4.8
High School: Downers Grove South
Hometown: Woodridge, IL
Visit Date: 12/5/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Sam Carson committed to Illinois after visiting both Illinois and Indiana. Sam visited Indiana on the weekend of December 12, 2003, and after that visit he committed to Illinois because as he told Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com on December 14, "everything just felt right for me at Illinois. I like the coaches at Illinois and I got along well with the players, plus it's close to home."

Through his high school career Sam was a two-time All-State selection, and in his senior season he was named to the Champaign News-Gazette's All-State team. Sam finished his career at Downers Grove South with the career record in tackles at 366. Some honors that were thrown Sam's way from national recruiting organizations include being named SuperPrep All-American, a PrepStar All-American, and a TheInsiders.com Big Ten Region Hot 100 recruit.

Carson selected Illinois over offers from Northwestern, Indiana, Louisville, and Northern Illinois.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT SAM CARSON
Chris Pool, TheInsiders.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
"Carson is being overshadowed by Kyle Williams and Chris Patterson but he's going to be a solid college football player and deserves more recognition than he's been getting."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner on Signing Day
"Sam is just an outstanding athlete. What I like most about Sam is the instinctive nature he has to get to the football. He can run sideline-to-sideline and is a great leader. His athleticism is very obvious by the fact that he is an excellent basketball player."

WR Bryant Creamer
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185
40-Time: 4.6
High School: Simeon
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Visit Date: 12/5/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Photo Courtesy the University of Illinois
Bryant was the final player to commit to Ron Turner and the Fighting Illini in the Class of 2004. He selected Illinois over Boston College, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Wisconsin. When discussing his recruitment with Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com in January 2004, Bryant said that the Illini were the team recruiting him the hardest, because "they call more and seem more interested."

During his senior season of high school, Bryant had 67 catches for 1,300 yards and 23 touchdowns. Bryant also received numerous honors from various recruiting organizations including being named a National Top 100 recruit by the Chicago Sun Times, a PrepStar All-American, a SuperPrep All-Region, and a TheInsiders.com Big Ten Region Hot 100 recruit.

RON TURNER ON BRYANT CREAMER
"Bryant is a big-play receiver who can double as both a possession receiver and a down-the-field vertical threat. He has great leaping ability and good ball skills. We expect him to be an impact player here at Illinois early."

DB Jody Ellis
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180
40-Time: 4.55
High School: Evanston Township HS
Hometown: Evanston, IL
Visit Date: 12/12/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Jody Ellis committed to Illinois after his visit to Illinois, and then cancelled his planned visits to Notre Dame and Iowa. Jody played both ways in high school, but he is initially projected as a defensive back for Illinois.

In high school Jody recorded 115 career tackles, five interceptions, and three fumble recoveries. In his senior season alone, Jody recorded 85 tackles and had three interceptions. On offense, Jody caught 97 passes for 870 yards and 19 touchdowns.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT JODY ELLIS
Chris Pool, TheInsiders.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
"Where will Ellis play for the Illini? Wherever he's needed. He's not a burner but he does have speed and he has incredible leaping ability. Jody will catch everything thrown his way.

On defense, Ellis is a hitter, he'll come up from a safety position and make big plays and he's good in coverage as well."


Evanston Head Coach Tony Johnson as told to Chris Pool
"Jody is the best wide receiver I've ever coached. I had Ben Johnson when I coached in Minnesota and I've had a few other D-1 wide receivers, Jody Ellis is the best I've coached."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner on Signing Day
"Jody Ellis is just a football player. When you watch his film you see No. 1 fly across the screen - whether he is making plays as a receiver or a defensively making interceptions and big hits. He seems to always be around the ball and has tremendous instincts and outstanding all-around abilities."

QB Kisan Flakes
Height: 6-1
Weight: 190
40-Time: 4.5
High School: Lovejoy HS
Hometown: Lovejoy, GA
Visit Date: 1/23/2004
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Kisan committed to Illinois after visiting the campus in January. He committed to Illinois over offers from Central Florida, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, and West Virginia. After Bill Callahan took the Nebraska job, he was also trying to get Kisan to visit, but that visit never took place. Kisan chose Illinois because as he told Scott Kennedy of TheInsiders.com, he "liked the fact that they are a Big Ten school, and [he] liked the campus and coaches."

In his senior season, Kisan led Lovejoy HS to an undefeated season. The undefeated season allowed Flakes to be names the All-State Offensive Player of the Year and the Southern Crescent Offensive Player of the Year. The recruiting organizations accolades that were placed upon Kisan include PrepStar All-Region and a TheInsiders.com Georgia Region Hot 100 recruit.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT KISAN FLAKES
Scott Kennedy, TheInsiders.com Recruiting Analyst
"Flakes is an exceptional athlete that has the ability to play more than one position, but he has his heart set on quarterback, and he will get his first shot as a signal caller with The Illini."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner on Signing Day
"Kisan has great instincts in the pocket. I was impressed with his awareness and presence. He has the ability to hurt you not only with his arm, but also with his feet. He can make the first pass-rushers miss and then has the uncanny instincts to know when to pull the ball down and run, or wait and make a play to an open receiver.

DL Xavier Fulton
Height: 6-5
Weight: 270
40-Time: 4.8
High School: Homewood-Flossmoor HS
Hometown: Flossmoor, IL
Visit Date: 12/5/2003
SuperPrep.com Star Ranking:
Xavier Fulton committed to Illinois in the summer of 2003, and he committed with a message through the words of his father. "After some discussion, Xavier and I felt that we didn't owe anything to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin or any other state," Glen Fulton told Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com. "We owe everything to the great state of Illinois and that's why we committed today. Illinois is a great academic school and Xavier could come home whenever he wants."

In his senior season Xavier recorded 98 tackles, 58 solo stops, 7.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hurries, 3 blocked field goals, 3 fumble recoveries, and 5 passes broken up. Xavier also received recognition from almost every national recruiting service there was. He was a Top 25 state of Illinois recruit by TheInsiders.com, ESPN.com, and Rivals.com. He was also named to the SuperPrep All-Region team and was a TheInsiders.com Big Ten Region Hot 100 recruit.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT XAVIER FULTON
Chris Pool, TheInsiders.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
"(Xavier is) a definite "Top Five" prospects in the state of Illinois. Fulton has been one of the most talked about prospects during the May Evaluation period.

Fulton weighed 215-pounds a year ago and has now blossomed into perhaps the best defensive tackle in the Chicago area since Thornwood's Darrell Campbell (Notre Dame)."


Homewood-Flossmoor Tony Lombardi as told to TheInsiders.com Chris Pool
"Xavier is a great kid. He's a come early, stay late type of kid. I've recruited high school prospects on the collegiate level and I can tell you this, at worst, Xavier Fulton will be a left tackle in the NFL. He's just that good. I feel that Xavier is going to be a great defensive lineman at the next level. He has all the tools. He's a 3-technique (defensive tackle) but he could play defensive end. Xavier is physically dominant and he plays with such an even tempo that he's just as good in the fourth quarter as he is in the first quarter."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner on Signing Day
"Xavier excelled on both sides of the ball in high school. He has tremendous quickness and strength. He was productive in every facet of the game, blocking kicks and tacking for loss. He just has a knack for making plays around the ball."

This story was created from various reports on TheInsiders.com network and from a University of Illinois Press Release.


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