"I committed to Illinois after I visited there," Heath told JCFootball.com. "I loved it. It was an unofficial visit for me, but they basically treated it like it was an official visit.
"I just loved all of it -- the direction of the program, how they take care of everyone, the family feel and atmosphere there and the tradition they have.
"When you walk in, the first thing you see is a picture of Dick Butkus. That's all you need to see to know how big their tradition is and for me, being from a small town, tradition is really big for me."
What wasn't understood, was that Heath, who was a full-qualifier out of Del Oro (Loomis, Ca.) High School, had to opportunity to join the Illini this summer.
"They wanted me to come in right away and I had pretty much decided to return here to American River, so they said it was fine and I could come in after the season was over," Heath said. "Then I started to think about it and I decided I wanted to come in early, but they had found someone to take the spot they had open for me for this season.
"We'll see, I might still end up going out there this summer, but it would be a huge surprise.
"It's fine. I'm happy here for now and then I'll go out there after my season is over."
In addition to his offer from Illinois, Heath also had full rides from the likes of Cincinnati, Utah State, San Jose State and New Mexico.
Heath will man one of the guard spots for ARC this fall after having started all but two games as a freshman last fall.
"This year, the big thing I am working on is my leadership and also being more consistent," Heath noted. "As a freshman I sort just fit in and and played within my role, but this year, I'm trying to be more of a leader. I'm not to most vocal guy, so I lead more by example."
If Heath were to enroll this summer, he would have four years to play three, but it is more likely he will leave after this season and then he would have three years to play two.
Zachary Heath Scout Profile
Heath Talks Commitment, Offers
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