Jay Prosch played several positions for UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile, Alabama, and had good success.
"I started out on offensive line my sophomore year. That's what they needed on the team. I played there and had a really good year. Junior year they still needed me in the offensive line, and I got first team All-State and a bunch of offensive player awards. That was good.
"Senior year they switched me to defense. I knew I wasn't big enough to play offensive line in college, and I wanted to go to college and play somewhere. I played linebacker and had an awesome year. I guess that's what really did it for me."
Still, he had no major college offers to play linebacker. The Illini liked him as a fullback, a position he played only rarely in high school.
"Northern Illinois wanted me for fullback, and Illinois wanted me for fullback. I talked to some schools down here, and they wanted me for linebacker. But I liked the idea of fullback. I played goal line fullback, but I've never actually played there as a full-time position.
"They saw the way I could block from my film junior year. And I guess they saw how I could move at linebacker, so they thought I could be a success at fullback."
Prosch explains how he ended up choosing Illinois.
"I'd already been to Northern Illinois, and I liked it a lot. I'm from Alabama, so I didn't know much about either of the schools. When I went up there (UI), I was thinking I was going to NIU. But it had a really strong college feel, there was a lot of activity going on, and that made me feel good."
The entire weekend pleased Prosch.
"I met all the coaches, and I met my assistant coach (Greg) Nord. I liked him a lot. We talked about plays, and he seemed like he'd be a great coach. I liked all the other coaches. And the facilities were amazing.
"I met a bunch of the guys, and they seemed really cool. They seemed like guys you can hang out with and be teammates. The school is a really good academic school, and that's always a plus. Of course it's in the Big 10, and that definitely helps."
Despite growing up in the South, cold weather was not a concern for Prosch.
"My dad has a house in Vermont, so I go there every winter and play in the snow. I've been in cold weather before, so I'm kind of used to it. It wasn't bad at all."
The 6'-1", 250 pounder is a workout warrior. He already benches an amazing 440 pounds.
"When I started working out my 8th grade year, I worked really hard because I wanted to play football. Plus I enjoyed it. I worked real hard and kept improving."
He doesn't want to get any bigger, but he feels improvements are still possible.
"I'm not trying to gain any more weight, but if I can gain muscle and speed, that will really help."
An excellent student, Prosch has yet to confirm a major in college.
"I think I'd like to go into Civil Engineering, but that's just a thought. I'm not really sure on that."