Walnut Ridge's Austin Traylor is a multi-talented athlete sought by many schools and is one of the top defensive linemen in the country. Recently, the Illini extended an offer to the Columbus, Ohio, product.
"I've had the Illinois offer for about 3 weeks now. They've been keeping in touch and sending me mail for a while now, but before the offer I hadn't really talked to the coaches. Since the offer, they've visited my school and I've talked to them."
Traylor plays many positions for his high school team, which is a reason why so many schools are interested in him.
"I played quarterback for the first two games of the year last year. After that, I played receiver and tight end, but I also had a package at quarterback. "Defensively, I played on the line. Schools are looking at me on both sides of the ball. Cincinnati, for example, wants me at tight end, but Illinois sees me as an end rusher or an outside linebacker."
The 6'-4", 215 pounder took the opportunity this spring to visit a few schools but hopes to have a much busier summer.
"I visited Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Cincinnati this spring. I've also been to a camp at Cincinnati. I didn't participate, but I was there with a teammate.
"I'm going to try to get to as many schools as possible this summer. The only trip set in stone is Wisconsin. I'm trying to set up more visits to other schools."
He is not in any hurry to make a decision.
"I want to take my 5 visits. I have some schools that I can't visit right now, like Arizona. Distance doesn't matter to me. It's about the school. I don't have a preference on which position I'd like to play."
There are no favorites for Traylor at this point.
"It's pretty much equal as of now."
Traylor will be the senior leader on his team's defense this fall.
"I'm the only returning starter on defense. We had a lot of bench players that played in a lot of games, but I'm the only returning starter. We were 8-2 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Although we lost a lot on defense, I think they'll be ready to step up."
In the meantime, Traylor is concentrating on improving himself.
"We have team lifts and conditioning in the offseason. I want to get bigger in the weight room. I'm focusing on improving my basic skill set so that I'm more fundamentally sound."