Illini Pursuing Pennsylvania Linebacker

Historically, Illinois has been known for its outstanding linebacker play, including last year's Illini All-American J Leman and this year's field general Brit Miller. However, there have been concerns over linebacker recruiting in recent classes, a problem Illinois coaches are eager to correct. Among those they are pursuing is 2010 Pennsylvania standout linebacker Dakota Royer.

After a rough start, the 6'3" 215 pound linebacker out of Manheim Senior High School has helped guide his team to an exceptional season.

"We're 9-2 on the season after starting 1-2," Royer explains. "We're the number 4 seed in the district playoffs and facing a 10-1 team this week whose only loss was to us earlier in the season. We're really clicking right now. After we lost two games, we held a team meeting and talked about how we needed to get our stuff together."

Individually, Dakota Royer is having a remarkable season.

"I'm up around 72 tackles, 11 sacks, and about 25 tackles for loss. I'm the first kid to react to the snap and I get quickly around the end with my speed. I run a 4.6 40, something most linebackers don't do. I can still work on my speed. Speed kills. I can always get faster. I need to work on my strength too."

His phenomenal play hasn't gone unnoticed by colleges.

"Illinois, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Notre Dame, LSU, and Colorado have expressed interest. I have offers from Maryland, Pitt, and Penn State. I grew up a Penn State fan until I hit my older years. I don't have a favorite right now. I'm looking for the best place for me.

"I'll be playing defense in college. Every college I've talked to is looking at me as an outside linebacker. My specialty is pass rushing, and the colleges are talking about bringing me up to the line on 3rd down to rush off the end."

The Big 10 Network has been a useful tool in recruiting for Dakota, but he has also been able to see Illinois play live.

"[The Big 10 Network] has really helped me out a lot. But I was actually out at Michigan on a visit when they played Illinois, so I got to see Illinois win. Juice Williams ran all over them."

Illinois is a school Dakota is going to give a hard look at.

"I get mail from them every day and have been in contact with Coach Pry a lot. They're an up and coming program. They're recruiting a lot better now. Everyone seems really nice and it's a great school academically as well. Right now, I don't have any visits planned, but I'm almost positive I'll be out there sometime next summer whether it's for a one day camp or a visit."

Royer will have no problem qualifying.

"Academically, I'm perfectly fine. I'm around a 3.3-3.5 GPA. I would like to study something with sports in college like sports training, sports medicine, or sports management."

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