Cameron Ontko Getting Recruiting Interest

Coach Ron Zook and staff continue to make the state of Ohio a priority for the success of the Illinois football team. Every year since Zook arrived at Illinois, Ohio has been a key state and 2010 is no different. Cameron Ontko is a versatile athlete that has been garnering early attention from Illinois and other top schools.

Walsh Jesuit High School, Ohio, athlete Cameron Ontko was a leader on a 9-3 football team whose season ended with a 28-7 loss to Aurora High School and Ohio State commit Adam Bellamy. Despite the loss, the team had a very successful season.

"We made it to the regional finals. We lost to Aurora, who eventually won the state championship. They beat us kind of bad. I busted up my knee and had to sit out two quarters. I came back halfway through the 3rd. We played real well as a team, and I felt that we could have gone further. Aurora just outplayed us."

Cameron played in the offensive backfield and as a linebacker on defense.

"I played OLB for the first 5 games and then I got moved to ILB for the remaining seven games. I had 103 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 hurried throws, 9 batted passes, 1 INT, and 1 blocked field goal on defense. On offense, I had 157 rushing attempts, a 5.7 yards per carry average, and 11 TDs."

Though he is listed as a running back on recruiting websites, Cameron played a different position on the field.

"I actually played more of a fullback, so I had the quick hitters up the middle. I feel like I can find the hole quick, break tackles, carry defenders, and get the yards I need."

Of course, no athlete is perfect and Cameron agrees.

"I need to work on my agility. I have pretty good speed in the open field. I started on my speed training last Saturday."

As a versatile athlete in high school, the 6'-0", 215 pound athlete is hearing different things as to which position he will play in college.

"Each school is different. Notre Dame is talking to me as a fullback. Ohio State and others schools are mostly talking OLB or safety or cornerback or just an athlete."

With so many options available to him, does he have a favorite position?

"It's really hard to say. There are colleges recruiting me as a safety and I've never played safety before, but right now I'd say OLB."

Cameron has a long list of suitors wanting to secure his talents.

"Ohio State, ND, Illinois, Michigan State, Florida State, Oregon, Purdue, Indiana, and many others have sent mail and made contact. No official scholarships. I just finished a new highlight film last week."

Cameron has a couple of favorites, but no school that is the favorite.

"There's kind of a couple of them. Ohio State's up there, but also ND, Illinois, and Florida State. I did grow up an Ohio State fan."

Cameron has decided not to play baseball this spring to focus on football and this will allow him ample time to visit schools.

"I haven't really talked to schools that much about visits yet. I've talked to Northwestern and they really want me to visit. They're coming down to a workout session soon. I've had unofficial to Notre Dame twice and Ohio State twice. I'm going to an Ohio State camp for sure and I want to go to the Illinois camp as well."

Would the lure of immediate playing time be a factor in his decision?

"Everyone wants to play early, but I'd be happy even being redshirted to just have another year on my side. Sitting a couple of years, getting to know the team and the offense or defense, whatever I'm playing."

As for Illinois, the coaching staff should thank a loyal graduate for talking to Cameron about the school.

"I've always been an Illinois fan. My friend's dad went to Illinois, and he's always been a huge Illinois fan. I've been around him a lot. He's always saying ‘Illinois, Illinois, Illinois.' He's really pounded it in my head, and I've come to really like Illinois. Eric Wolford is my recruiting coach."

Cameron carries a 3.2 GPA and will take the ACT and SAT soon.

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