After not signing any prospects from the state of Illinois in this past year's class, Hawk fans can be sure that a more significant effort will be placed there this time around. One prospect Hawk fans should keep an eye on is RB/LB Derek Blackwell from Galesburg, IL.
"Right now, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas State, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Indiana are the schools sending me letters," Derek said. "I attended a junior day visit to Illinois and it was pretty nice. I liked what I saw in the campus and stadium, but I'd rather play on natural grass."
Don't read too much into that because Derek still possesses plenty of ties to the Fightin' Illini.
"I grew up an Illinois fan largely because my cousin, DE Mikki Johnson from Galesburg, played there. However, that does not put them in the lead right away."
In fact, Iowa has been a big player so far in the services for Mr. Blackwell.
"Iowa is showing me the most interest right now. I think I will probably come up to attend their spring game, or at least a spring practice. I get a lot of letters from Coach Erb telling me how good of a campus it is and how I should be a Hawkeye."
At this time, Derek seems to be on a good start to qualify with a 2.8 GPA, but will still need to get the qualifying test score. Derek only began playing LB this past season, but it could be the position that he ends up playing in college.
"Most schools are recruiting me as a running back, but I would not rule out linebacker, either. I just want to find a good school for education, in case football does not work out, and a school where I feel most comfortable around the people."
Certainly, not many universities can beat the people in Iowa City. Derek will be attending a NIKE Camp in East Lansing, MI with the possibility of attending camps at Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. Do not bet against Derek Blackwell being a name that Hawk fans hear more about this summer.