Austin White Visits Illini For Junior Day

When Coach Keith Gilmore was hired as defensive line coach, his knowledge and influence in Michigan was thought to be a boost to Illinois recruiting. Among the players he has contacted for the Illini is Livonia, Michigan running back Austin White. The talented junior running back visited campus for a Junior Day last weekend.

The Stevenson High School Spartans went 10-3 this past football season, losing in the semifinals of the Michigan state playoffs to eventual champion Rockford High School. Stevenson was led by all-everything running back Austin White, who rushed for 1600 yards and 25 touchdowns his junior season.

"I feel like our team came a long way from the beginning of the season to the end of the season," White explains. "We had a lot of young kids on the team. Everyone learned a lot and gained a lot of experience. I feel like we could have done a little bit better with the talent we had, but it just didn't work out.

"All in all, it was a good season. The whole team did well. I was happy with my performance last season. You can always get better. If we want to win a championship, we have to recognize what has to be improved to get better."

Austin will have some experienced linemen leading interference for his upcoming senior campaign, so he should have a banner year.

"Next season, we lose a good core of our guys, but we return 4 of our 6 lineman. And we have a group of sophomores who played up last year and will be coming back. We should be pretty good."

White is currently in the middle of his varsity basketball season.

"We're doing all right. We start 3 juniors, so we'll be pretty good next year. We're 10-5 this year, but we're doing pretty well right now."

The 5'-11", 186 pound back has drawn attention from all across the country.

"I have 6 offers right now. I have a verbal from Purdue and written offers from Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I'm really happy with those schools because I like their programs. Other schools interested in me are Georgia, Northwestern, LSU, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Louisville, and a little bit of interest from Florida.

"I grew up a fan of Michigan State because my mom and dad both graduated from there and both of my brothers currently attend. However, I'm open to any school and I want to see as many different places as possible."

With interest from schools from the West coast to the East coast, will distance be a factor for Austin in his decision?

"Family is a big part of my life, but I'm definitely going to go where it feels right regardless of distance."

Austin played running back and linebacker for his team this past season, but the schools who have offered agree on his best position.

"All the schools who have offered me are looking at me as a running back. They've told me that's what they like about me. If it doesn't work out at running back, I can be used at a different position."

Austin came away from last weekend's visit impressed with the academics and athletics at Illinois.

"We arrived on campus and were introduced to all the coaches. We first took a tour of the campus and were able visit one of the business school buildings. The thing I liked about the junior day was that the coaching staff and the tour went into depth about academics so I could see all that Illinois had to offer.

"Then we checked out the football facilities such as the weight room and indoor practice building. After that, I was able to talk to Coach Zook alone. I like him a lot because he's a down to earth guy. I liked talking to him. After that we went to the basketball game. I'm not a fan of Michigan State basketball, so I wasn't rooting for them.

"It was my first time going to the campus at Illinois. It was really nice to see the environment on campus and even better to meet the coaches and everyone for the first time. I was excited about meeting them. The message I got was it was about the people.

"For me, that is something that's important in my life. The people who I surround myself with are a big part of my life, and I want people who want me to become a better individual not just a better football player. I got that vibe from the Illinois coaching staff."

Austin reports that his academics are in order and that he would like to study business in college.

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