Linebacker Austin Roberts from Rice Lake (Wisc.) pledged to Tim Beckman and Fighting Illini on Thursday. Roberts was on campus for an unofficial visit and decided he had found the perfect place to continue his playing career.
"I went to visit to today, and being on campus and talking to all of the coaches and everybody - everything was just perfect," Roberts said. "It really just matches up with my wants and needs for my college experience."
Roberts, a 6-foot-3, 226-pound inside backer shined recently at the Illini satellite camp at Lincoln-Way East High school in the Chicago Suburbs. Illinois extended a scholarship offer following the camp and jumped to the top of Robert's list.
One of the key factors for Roberts was that Illinois recruited him to play middle linebacker, the position he plays in high school.
"When I was offered I looked into it, and from a football standpoint everything was perfect," Roberts said. "And then I really looked in to Coach Beckman's philosophy and I got more and more excited about the program. There is a good chance for me to get on the field early. They recruited me to play inside backer. They don't want me to play defensive end or anything. They want me to play my position."
Illinois assistant coaches Al Seamonson and Mike Ward closed the deal on Roberts.
"Coach Seamonson played a big part," Roberts said. "He is a Wisconsin native himself, so we had that connection. He was a great guy from the start. Coach Ward as well. He was really great about keeping in touch with me every day. Coming down and meeting them in person and spending time with them, I just knew this was the place for me to be."
Roberts got to spend some time around the Illini players on his visit, and felt like he fit in well both as a football player and student.
"I got to eat lunch with the two linebackers who played last year as freshmen, Mason Monheim and Mike Svetina," Roberts said. "They are great guys. That was another thing. The players on the team are just the right kind of guys. They are hard-working and super dedicated in the classroom."
Roberts said he is glad to have recruiting behind him.
"I'm glad that it's done and that I found the perfect fit for me," Roberts said. "I'm 100% an Illini now through and through. I'm not going to any other camps and I'm going to cut off all these other coaches. I'm done with my recruiting and I'm as solid as it gets."
Roberts is the fifth member of the Illinois recruiting class of 2014, joining offensive lineman Nick Allegretti, wide receiver Mike Dudek, QB Chayce Crouch, and defensive end Tito Odenigbo.
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