Jayleen Fitzpatrick spent his entire junior season injured. Which, in turn, made it hard for college coaches to come knocking on his door. He had successful surgery and says he's primed for an excellent senior season in 2017.
"I got injured week one of my junior season," Fitzpatrick told Scout. "But I'm blessed to be fully healthy and be able to play a full senior season," he added.
Despite his injury, he's still managed to make it to Iowa City a few times to check out the neighboring Hawkeyes. He was in town the night Iowa dismantled Nebraska.
"It was an excellent atmosphere," the Illinois native admitted. "The fans, the team, I just liked it all," he added.
He liked his first visit so much that he made a return trip last week with Tyrik Henderson, who has an Iowa offer and is a teammate of Fitzpatrick's at Glenbard North. He was again impressed with the Hawkeyes.
"I liked the way they ran their defense," he said. "It's similar to what we run at my school, so I was really familiar with it. I also got to talk to the coaching staff, coach Bell, coach Parker, and the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) Kirk Ferentz," Fitzpatrick added.
"It was an overall great experience and I am looking forward to coming back again," he said.
Right now, there are no offers on the table for the Illinois linebacker, but he isn't letting that get him down. In fact, it's making him work harder. He's especially working for that Iowa offer.
"That'd be huge for me," he said when asked what an offer from Iowa would mean. "Being able to receive a full ride scholarship from a school that I am very interested in would be amazing. It'd mean a lot," Fitzpatrick told Scout.
He does have a close bond with Henderson - who is a big Iowa target - but doesn't think that'd have any affect on him in terms of which school he'd like to choose. But he did say that it'd be pretty cool to play along side Tyrik at Iowa, if that opportunity presented itself.
There is no timetable for a return visit from Fitzpatrick, but I think it's safe to say he'll make his way back to Iowa City at some point.