Jake Bernstein and the Crystal Lake South football team are in transition. They recently lost their head coach and must prepare for the upcoming without direction until a new one is named. And Bernstein and his dad must handle all their recruiting responsibilities alone.
"It's been a little hectic around school," Bernstein understates. "My dad helps me out a lot with my recruiting. My dad sends out film for me."
Without an advocate in his school, he must be patient while colleges find out about him.
"I have zero offers so far. I've been talking a lot to Big 10 schools. I'll be going to Iowa for a Junior Day. Outside of that, I've been getting a lot of letters saying, 'Come to our summer camp.'
Bernstein also attended an Illinois Junior Day April 4th.
"It was a beautiful school. I think they have a great coaching staff, and they're well organized. And on top of that the academics, you can't top that."
He also enjoyed the Fighting Illini scrimmage that day.
"I got to watch the scrimmage from the press box area. I basically watched the offensive linemen. (Joe) Gilbert looks like he's got some good guys on his hands. And I think he'd be a perfect coach to play for."
Gilbert is the Illinois offensive line coach and recruits Bernstein's area. He likes Gilbert a lot, but that wasn't the only coach who impressed him.
"Personally, I think every one is a heck of a coach. I think they're all really intelligent and know what to do."
There wasn't time for the Illini to provide a tour of the campus that day, but Bernstein had a personal tour guide with him. In a common case of "grass is greener," Bernstein's dad knew where to go.
"I didn't really get to see much of campus, but my dad went to Illinois State. So Illinois was basically his home. My dad showed me a lot of places around there. He knows it like the back of his hand."
Bernstein is optimistic of an Illini scholarship offer.
"Gilbert said he was gonna talk over some tapes. He was gonna show Coach (Ron) Zook a couple tapes. If they liked it, they were gonna plan on offering me."
Bernstein may play a different position in college than high school, depending on his new coach's needs.
"Right now I play left tackle. I've also played left guard. I've talked to a lot of coaches, and they see me at guard in the future. I'm only about 6'-4". A lot of them say if I don't grow another couple inches, I won't be playing left tackle. But they say I have great feet for a guard."
The 275 pounder agrees when asked his best talents as a lineman.
"Fast feet. Really fast feet. My hand placement is getting there. The biggest problem I have is extending my arms. I tend to short them. I don't know why."
Besides a desire to play major college football, Bernstein also has academic goals.
"Academics is number one. I basically want to get involved in Sports Medicine, Sports Science. I want to help the better athletes improve their games."
Until he can get his highlight film out to all the coaches and find out who his new coach will be, he encourages everyone interested to watch his highlights on his personal website: www.4agp.com/jakebernstein.