On October 3rd, Illinois played host to Ravonne Carter, Corey Lemonier, and Calvin Smith, three talented football players from Hialeah High School in Florida. Despite the loss to PSU, Carter enjoyed his visit to Champaign.
"We flew up Friday morning and stayed until Sunday. I liked the football facilities a lot, especially the weight room. I loved the visit. It was amazing. I felt so at home up there. Besides the football facilities, I got to see most of the campus too. I was shown the academic side of the school as well like the tutors and such. Tommie Hopkins was my host, and he showed me a lot like the basketball arena."
Two years ago, Coach Ron Zook and his staff reached into Florida and landed highly touted defensive tackle Corey Liuget from Hialeah High School. Liuget helped make Carter and his teammates feel at home and showed them around campus.
"Ever since the spring, he's been telling us about Illinois. He was informal with us about how good it is up there. He told us that when we came up he would show us how good it is. He was telling us what a good program it is, what a good team it is, and how easy it is to get alone with everyone.
"He also told us that the coaches are great. He showed us around on Saturday. He just made us feel at home because we can chill with him."
The concern with some players from the South is that the cold weather in Champaign would deter them from coming to Illinois. For Carter, however, the weather didn't bother him.
"The weather doesn't matter to me. As soon as I stepped out of the airport it hit me, but it gets cold like that in Jacksonville. The weather didn't bother me. Distance doesn't matter either. As long as I'm in school and doing well, I'm good."
The 5-11", 178 pound defensive back has attracted interest from many BCS football programs.
"West Virginia, Western Michigan, Kansas, UCF, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Florida A&M, and Illinois of course. Coach Reggie Mitchell is my Illinois recruiting coach. So far, the only school to offer me is UCF. Colleges are recruiting me as a defensive back. I grew up a fan of Miami. I'm going to take all five of my official visits. I'm probably going to visit Tennessee and UCF."
A fan of Miami, Carter looks up to two of its former players.
"I look up to Ed Reed and Sean Taylor. I watch their film, YouTube videos, and games. I liked the way #4 (Donsay Hardeman) for Illinois played too."
Hialeah High School is 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference, but is on a two game losing streak.
"We're 2-2 this year and we've got to pick it up. We've lost to teams that maybe we're not supposed to lose to. We have one tough game coming up against Miami Central, so we should be able to win a lot of games still.
I play safety and wide receiver and run a 4.56 forty time. I think I bring speed, vision, and good hands to my team, but I still want to work on my conditioning. I stay after practice to improve that."
Carter is working hard on the field and in the classroom in hopes of earning more offers. The Illinois coaches will keep a close eye on Carter and an offer could come as a result of the effort. Either way, the school that lands Carter is getting a talented and motivated player.