Q. & A. With Simeon's Jesse Chick

Recently one of the nation's top high school football players came under a little scrutiny because he chose to play for Ron Zook and the Illini. Read here at InsideIllini.com for this question and answer.

Jesse Chick is a very busy man at Simeon Vocational High School (trying to get kids in class and making sure they were not late), but he wanted to do an interview with us this morning. Chick is the high school football coach at Simeon where five-star Martez Wilson attends.

Kedric:
What kind of impact do you think Martez will have at Illinois?

Chick:
Well, given his work ethic I think he will be fine. He could have a great impact at Illinois. It's going to be an adjustment and I told him that; he will work very hard at it. He knows going to college it's a different game and the players will be different, but he can do it if he wants to and he knows that.

Kedric:
How tough was it for Martez to focus with all the national attention he was getting from all the top coaches?

Chick:
I'm sure at times it became overwhelming for him. That's natural for a young kid. Martez has a great support system with his family, me and his friends and all those around him. We all had his best interest in mind. He's heard me say this many times, "Let God guide you and lead you and things will take care of itself." We talk about that a lot. He knows that these coaches are under a lot of pressure to win. We were very honest with him about that type of thing, but he did a great job of how he handled it all.

Kedric:
What is your opinion on the alleged "cheating" that could be taking place?

Chick:
I will say this - all the schools were the same to me; none of them did anything I felt was out of line. They were all very professional in dealing with me. We like Zook. He's good with the kids, but the thing people don't think about and I told Martez this, your coach is very important, but the ones who sell the programs are not necessarily the coaches - it's the players. They are the ones you're going to be with all the time, not the coach. Martez said he liked the players down there and they really, really made him feel comfortable. That is what's important. I said to him, "Let God guide you and then you will be able to tell if that's where you want to be." Zook has a job do to and he was no different than any other coach if you ask me.

Kedric:
No personal or school names, but have you ever seen anything that you felt was unethical when it comes to recruiting?

Chick:
Only God knows if they are doing something wrong. Like I said, to me they all sit down with me and say the right things. They don't try to do things the wrong way. If they lie, God will know. I will tell you this story however. It's one of the strangest things I've ever seen. I don't want to say the athlete's name because that wouldn't be right, but once there was a coach working very hard to get a player from here. He did a good job of representing his school. The next week he came back recruiting the same kid, but he had changed schools. He didn't say anything about it, just kept on recruiting the kid. That was different for me. I want my kids to know this - it's a lot different than high school. I tell them all the time I will be here, but in college if you don't win you're gone. It's another level, so these coaches are going to work very hard to get the best players and it's a tough business.

Kedric:
Coach, thanks for taking the time to do this. I know you're very busy with your job today. Thanks.

Chick:
No problem. Thank you and may you enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless you and your family.


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