Mark Wilson is exactly the type of linebacker who can thrive in the Illinois defense. So it was great news when he announced his intentions Thursday of enrolling at Illinois in 2010. Actually, he had known his decision for awhile.
"I had already made up my mind. Today was just me and my coach deciding to go ahead and go public with it. It was because Coach Dan Disch and Coach Ron Zook made me feel great about Illinois. The recruiting was great, and it just felt like home."
He felt so good, he made the decision without even visiting the campus. But he appears firm in his convictions.
"I haven't visited there yet, but I plan to be there sometime next week or sometime in July."
The 6'-2" athlete says he has bulked up to 230 pounds. He is playing outside linebacker for Tallahassee Lincoln, but he will play wherever needed.
"I'm an outside linebacker, but I play all three positions. I prefer outside. I like using my speed. I like to hit people hard. I like to get after it.
"I just like to make my presence felt when I'm on the field. I love to make plays. Football is fun. There's nothing I'd rather do than knock somebody's head off."
Beyond his obvious physicality, his other attributes are equally important to the success of any team.
"I am a leader for my team. My attitude, my willingness to give it all for my team. I'm just one of those guys who sacrifices for the team."
Wilson was courted by a number of schools, but in the end it boiled down to three choices.
"I was really considering Arkansas and USF. I visited USF in the spring for a 7 on 7."
Tallahassee Lincoln is always loaded with outstanding players. Their athletes have helped support a number of college teams for many years. They finished second in Class 4A state championship last fall, and Wilson expects to do better this upcoming season.
"Our team is great. We have a lot of guys coming back. We're stacked. We've got a great attitude, and we're trying to get that third state championship."
Wilson joins a growing list of top Florida athletes playing for Illinois. They in turn help encourage other great performers to make the trek North to help put Illinois on the national football map.