Djwany Mera emerged this year as a top defensive line prospect after having an outstanding year at South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida. He led his team to an outstanding season.
"We went 10-2," Mera relates. "We only lost to St. Thomas Aquinas, which is the number one team in the nation. I did pretty well. I had 19 sacks and 122 tackles."
The 6'-4", 240 pounder is versatile enough to play more than one position. He has no preference.
"I play everything. Either end or tackle is good for me. I played tackle most of the games this year."
Mera was asked what he does best on defense.
"Swim move I guess. I'm pretty quick off the ball. I'm motivated to make the play."
Illinois defensive line coach Keith Gilmore has been searching for linemen, and he has made rapid progress with Mera.
"He seems pretty cool. Illinois has just come in on me recently. I'm taking a visit on January 22nd. So I'm kind of interested to see what they're all about."
Mera's other top schools include Rutgers, FIU (Florida International) and Colorado. He hasn't taken any visits yet, so he isn't ready to name a favorite.
"I haven't visited any schools yet. I should be able to make my decision after I take my visits."
What is he looking for in a college?
"I'm looking for a good coaching staff, someone who will push you to the limit so you can perform good on the field. Somewhere I can get a good education."
Florida's football playoff system runs late in the year, giving players little time to make early college visits. Mera has an additional scheduling problem because he is involved in a winter sport.
"I wrestle right now. I'm 20-1. My only loss was to the number one kid in the state. I dropped down to wrestle at 215. I may go out for track in the spring. I don't know yet. I played basketball in the past also."
If his academics are in order, Mera will be high on the Illini's list. At this point, they have as good a chance as anyone of landing him.