Illinois wide receiver Cordale Scott was ranked as the ninth best player in talent-rich Ohio in 2007. Scout and Rivals both ranked him as a four-star player, and he was called Player Of The Year by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Scott played four games as a rookie, logging 33 total plays divided between offense and special teams. But after seeing quality minutes early in the fall, he saw a decreasing amount of action the rest of the season. He was not surprised or disappointed.
"No, because I knew I wasn't ready. Coach Zook isn't gonna put me in a position when I'm not ready. I'm just waiting my turn, getting my feet wet this year and hope to make some big plays and get my name out there. That's what I have to do."
High school seniors rarely realize how tough it is to come into college and play well right away. The college game is far more complex than high school. Cordale discussed what freshmen receivers must do to break into the lineup.
"Just coming in learning all the plays, learning the speed of the game, catching the ball with confidence, playing with confidence."
After a fall to gain experience and a winter to improve conditioning and strength, Scott feels things are looking up for him.
"It's going good right now. They expect more out of me to make big plays, to play to my expectations."
Winter conditioning was a big help as he added 10 pounds of muscle.
"Yeah, thanks to Coach Lou (Hernandez) in the weight room. Right now, I probably lift about 275-300, and I weigh 215. It will help me with blocking, getting those big guys off me."
Scott was on campus when his Glenville team bussed in for a one-day camp at Illinois last June. The way they all looked up to him, it was obvious he was a leader for them.
"Yeah, my guys since my freshman year, they all know me."
Modesty aside, that charisma may eventually pay off for Illinois as well, once he establishes himself in his role.
Cordale Scott is a team player who just wants to win. His personal goals are all team goals.
"Just being a team player. Special teams, catching first downs, catching touchdowns, whatever Coach Zook and Coach Schultz want me to do."