Illinois Continuing To Recruit Pennsylvania

Illinois has had recent success recruiting the state of Pennsylvania. Ron Zook and assistant Jim Pry brought in three top players last year, including freshmen lettermen Hubie Graham and Corey Lewis. They hope to continue that connection in years to come. Included on their radar for the 2010 class is the talented Cullen Christian.

Cullen Christian is a lockdown cornerback for Pittsburgh Penn Hills, a school that plays its games in perhaps the best conference in Pennsylvania, the WPIAL. Penn Hills went 8-4 this past season, losing deep in the playoffs to Monroeville Gateway.

"We did pretty well," Christian explains. "We only needed one more game to make it to the championship. We did better than everyone expected us to. We're losing a lot next year, a lot. We lose all of our linebackers. We'll just work hard to do better than we did this year. On the season, I had 35 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 deflections, and 1 forced fumble."

Despite not having much experience at the position, Cullen put up excellent numbers and improved his play throughout the season.

"I think I played really good. This was my first year starting and I didn't have much experience. I did pretty well at the beginning, but as the season went along, I kept getting better and better.

"I can improve on everything. I'm not perfect at anything. I'm running track now trying to get faster. I played only corner, but I will play wide receiver next year. I'm being recruited as a cornerback though. I try to model my game after Champ Bailey. I run a 4.5 40."

After only one year as a starter, numerous schools have shown interest in the 6'-0", 180 pounder.

"Michigan, Maryland, West Virginia, and Central Michigan have offered. Penn State, Michigan State, UCLA, Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Illinois have been in touch. I would like to have Alabama, Florida State, Miami, and a couple of others get in touch with me."

Though he lives in Pennsylvania, another Big 10 school was his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a fan of Michigan. I didn't take any visits this past year. I'm about to visit Michigan though, and I'll go to Maryland and Penn State junior days too."

Illinois has shown interest, but things are still in their early stages.

"I've gotten a few letters from Illinois, but I haven't really talked to any of the coaches. I really don't know what is going on with Illinois right now."

Academically, Cullen hasn't taken the SAT or ACT yet and reports a 2.7 GPA.

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