Austin Teitsma, a defensive lineman from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, spent yesterday and this morning on the Illinois campus. He visited the university hoping to earn an offer. On Sunday morning Teitsma was rewarded for his patience and he quickly accepted.
"I decided about two weeks ago to come down. They told me that if I came down, I might receiver an offer. I came down Saturday because I had wrestling on Friday. On Saturday, we ate breakfast, went to an academic meeting, and then met with our position coaches.
After that we went to the basketball game, which was amazing. Then we took a tour of the ARC, had dinner, and hung out with our hosts.
"They offered me this morning, and I accepted it right away. I really felt like it was the right place. I really liked the atmosphere, and I've always wanted to play in the Big 10. It just felt right.
The 6'-3", 240 pound athlete had been recruited by schools as both a fullback and a defensive lineman. The Illini see him on the defensive side of the ball.
"I talked to Coach [Vic] Koenning, and they see me as a defensive end. When we met with our position coaches, Coach [Keith] Gilmore and I went over some film, and he told me how they would use me."
Prior to the Illinois offer, Teitsma had offers from Northern Illinois, Illinois State, Buffalo, and Ball State. Of those four, NIU and Ball State stood out to him.
"I visited both of them, and the relationship I had with the coaches is what separated them from the others. Northern saw me as a fullback, while Ball State saw me on the defensive line. The position didn't matter to me, it was the school itself.
"It was very hard to call them and tell them I was choosing Illinois. It would have been harder had I committed somewhere already."
Teitsma's hard work and dedication in high school helped earn him a scholarship to Illinois. As a junior, he was named All-State, and as a senior he was named the Western Sun defensive player of the year. He was also all-conference three years in a row. He expects to prepare hard for college.
"I want to get faster this offseason and improve my strength. I also want to add a little weight, but heart is something I don't need to work on. Heart is something I always bring to the table."
The three sport athlete at Glenbard South excelled not only in football, but also wrestling and track. As a wrestler, Teitsma went 36-2 as a junior and is currently undefeated as a senior heading into the state tournament. In track, Teitsma was a state qualifier as a junior.
"I started wrestling freshman year of high school, and my freshman coach got me started to help me in football. I feel like it has helped me a lot, especially one on one matchups and the mental aspect of it. I do shotput and discus in track, but I'm not sure if I'll be doing that this year.
Teitsma hopes to major in sports management or a sports related field.