Commentary

Illini recruit pushing for Prater

Originally Published: June 8, 2009
By Bill Kurelic | Scouts Inc.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- One of the standouts from Saturday's Nike Football Training Camp at Illinois was Zach Fulton (Homewood, Ill./Flossmoor), who won the camp's offensive line MVP award.

Fulton attended Tennessee's camp on June 1, and at the end of the camp he spent a half hour in Lane Kiffin's office and subsequently landed a scholarship offer from Tennessee. Fulton also has offers from Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. He plans to attend Notre Dame's camp June 16 and would like to select a college in late June or early July. Fulton's brother, Xavier, was a starting lineman for Illinois the past two seasons, but the Illini have some catching up to do.

"Tennessee is probably my favorite," Fulton said during a break on Saturday in Champaign.

There was talk on Saturday that Fulton performed as well or better at the Tennessee camp than two highly regarded offensive linemen from the state of Tennessee, James Stone (Nashville, Tenn./Maplewood) and O.C. Brown (Memphis, Tenn./Manassas). Stone has scholarship offers from schools all over the country, including Tennessee, LSU, Florida State, Alabama and Notre Dame.

Putting the full-court press on Prater

ESPNU 150 Watch List wide receiver Kyle Prater (Hillside, Ill./Proviso West) was seen at times on Saturday talking to ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback and Illinois commitment Chandler Whitmer (Downers Grove, Ill./South). Whitmer said he would love to see Prater join him in the Fighting Illini's 2010 recruiting class and was making his pitch to the star receiver. Defensive back Corey Cooper (Maywood, Ill./Proviso East), who won the camp MVP award for the defensive backs, has also committed to Illinois though he continues to look at other schools. Cooper and Prater are good friends and hung out together a little on Saturday.

There is talk of moving Prater to quarterback his senior season, or at least to play him at that position at times. The goal is to get the ball in Prater's hands as much as possible and let him make plays. Whether or not he moves to quarterback will not impact his recruiting one bit. He will almost certainly line up out wide at the next level.

OSU-MSU battling for Gholston?

Nobody passed the "look test" better than ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end William Gholston. During a break in the action, Gholston said USC, Ohio State, Michigan State, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida were schools prominent on his list. However, the talk around Memorial Stadium on Saturday was that Gholston's decision could easily come down to the Buckeyes or Spartans.

Easterly may be at home in Champaign

Daniel Easterly (Detroit/Cass Tech) played safety during his junior season, and feels that is where he will likely play in college. However, the 6-foot-5 and 200-pound Easterly said some recruiters have mentioned a move to outside linebacker if he gets big enough in the next couple of years. For that to happen, Easterly has a way to go. In shirts and shorts, it was easy to see how lean Easterly is. He is nowhere close to linebacker size at this point. Easterly worked with the defensive backs on Saturday and did a nice job. He reacted to the ball well and showed he can cover, too.

Easterly said he landed a scholarship offer from UCLA right before leaving for Illinois, which was offer No. 18. Easterly anticipates offer No. 19 coming soon from Cincinnati. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse, Alabama and Kentucky are among the other schools to offer Easterly. The Illini are high on Easterly's list.

Locksley no lock to follow his father

Quarterback Meiko Locksley (Albuquerque, N.M./LaCueva), who is the son of former Illinois assistant and current New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley, said on Saturday that it is far from a done deal that he will accept his father's scholarship offer and play for New Mexico. In addition to New Mexico, Locksley has an offer from New Mexico State. However, Locksley said Maryland and Oregon are currently the top two schools on his list even though neither has offered. Locksley said his father being the head coach has positives and negatives in regard to going to New Mexico.

"My dad will be a factor of course," Locksley said. "But it can also be tough playing for your father. He will be tougher on you because he doesn't want to show any favoritism."

Shelby looking for offer No. 1

Wide receiver Julius Shelby (Hillside, Ill./Proviso West) performed well on Saturday, making some nice catches and showing pretty good speed. He also passed the look test. At 6-4, 200 pounds, Shelby has excellent size for a college wide receiver. Shelby stopped at Northern Illinois on Friday before heading to Champaign. He is interested in Illinois, Northern Illinois, Arizona, Indiana and Western Michigan. He feels his first offer might come from the Wildcats in the near future.

Montana talk in Champaign

Four ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterbacks -- Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster), Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's), Joe Boisture (Saline, Mich./Saline) and Whitmer -- worked out in Champaign. All four showed why they are so highly regarded with outstanding performances. However, the quarterback talk around camp was not confined to those four, or even the other quarterbacks at camp. Some talk going around camp centered on Under Armour All-American Nick Montana (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian). Montana visited Washington on Friday. The Huskies are seen by some as an unlikely final destination for Montana. On the other hand, Georgia could be the sleeper in the mix. Montana has said Georgia, Notre Dame, Stanford, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Washington are the seven schools he is currently focusing on.

Bill Kurelic covers recruiting for ESPN affiliates Nittanynetwork.com and Bucknuts.com.