Harris Talks Illini

A.J. Harris knew Illinois was interested. After one of his teammates heard an the Illini planned to offer the 2015 tackle, the Stillwell (KS) product was looking forward to his first Big Ten offer. Go inside as Harris breaks down Illinois…

Stillwell (KS) product A.J. Harris watched his friend and Blue Valley High School teammate Henry McGrew go through the recruitment process. When McGrew committed to Illinois in June, Harris paid close attention. Now, after excelling for the Tigers through the regular season, the 2015 offensive tackle has his own offer from the Illini.

"Earlier in the year, Henry said it was in a letter that they planned to offer me," Harris said. "It just happened that we opened up some letters from Illinois. It was from Coach Ricker, and he said ‘I hope you are doing well, that you have an offer from us, and contact me as soon as you can.'"

Harris reached out to the Illinois offensive line coach to confirm that the offer was still good.

"We called him the next night, and we just talked," the three-star prospect said. "Coach Ricker said that, if I come up there, they are playing a lot of young people, and that I'd be a three or four-year starter if I went up there."

The Blue Valley tackle has become one of the best players in the Eastern Kansas League, and one of the top prospects in The Sunflower State for 2015. After landing early offers from Missouri, Kansas State, and Iowa State, Illinois was the first Big Ten school to extend an offer.

"I heard the gameday atmosphere there is really amazing," he said of Champaign. "I know Coach Beckman is the head coach, and they've been having a tough schedule. He told me, ‘I like how dominant your film was. Your run blocking was really good, and you have a lot of athletic ability.'"

Harris has a high opinion of Illinois, and the quality of education available there is a draw for he and his family.

"I know the school is one of the top schools in the nation. That plays a big part in my decision. I like that it has really good academics along with football."

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