Wis. linebacker one quality away

Mequon Homestead's Dillon Forbes (6-foot-1, 225 pounds) has built an impressive résumé for college football recruiters, but he needs to improve in one very important regard in order to receive a scholarship offer.

At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Dillon Forbes has the size to be a legitimate Division I linebacker prospect. He also possesses the speed (4.6-second 40-yard dash) and strength (27+ reps at 185 pounds on the bench press) that college recruiters are looking for.

But the honorable mention all-area performer at Mequon (Wis.) Homestead High School needs to improve significantly in one crucial area: academics.

According to Forbes and his prep coach, Dave Keel, if Forbes's grades were better he might have already secured scholarship offers from Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.

"Basically, I would have had about like three offers, from NIU, Central Michigan and Western Michigan," Forbes said in a recent telephone interview. "But my grades weren't up to par… They all told my coach, and my coach told me, that they would have offered but my grades just aren't there."

"They all have looked at film and looked at him and they all feel strongly that he's a Division I scholarship athlete but no one can pull the trigger because of the grades right now," Keel said in a separate telephone interview.

Forbes said his cumulative grade-point average is about a 2.0. He has not yet taken the ACT.

"(I am) just regretting that I didn't apply myself," Forbes said. "It's not the best of news."

Forbes said he feels that he needs to get better than a 3.0 in the first semester of his upcoming senior year in order to prove to college recruiters that he can take care of business in the classroom.

"The first semester is going to be really important, so I've got to focus on that," Forbes said.

"He's got to show them his senior year that he's going to be able to make the grades," Keel said. "It is amazing how two things have really started to enter into the recruiting way more significantly then in the past. One of them is grades and second is character. The coaches are really concerned as much about those two as they are about athletic and physical ability…

"These (college coaches), their livelihood is dependent upon getting quality players, but quality players who will be quality people and good students as well. It has changed the face of recruiting a little bit. For the better, I think."

Keel expects Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Western Michigan to take a wait-and-see approach with Forbes. If he can get his grades squared away, and score well enough on a college entrance exam, they will likely hold a spot for him.

"I think that those schools all are waiting to see if he can get his academics in order and get a decent score on the ACT and prove to them that he is going to be a capable college student as well as athlete," Keel said.

If he cannot overcome his academic hurdle and secure a Division I offer this year, Forbes said that he would probably attend a junior college and then transfer to a Division I program.

When Badger Nation spoke to Forbes, he was planning to attend a Wisconsin football camp from June 24-27. He was also hoping to participate in one-day camps at other schools, but he plays summer baseball at Homestead, which limits his opportunities to travel for football.

Forbes has received interest from many other Division I programs, including Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas State, TCU and Nebraska.

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