Ohio Kicker Detmer Enjoys Illinois Visit

J.D. Detmer (thisweeknewspapers)

With students away from campus for the holidays, the Fighting Illini invited fewer recruits for official visits this past weekend. Among those who did make the trip was Ohio placekicker J.D. Detmer. The Toledo commitment has been interested in the Illini for awhile and made the trip with Toledo's knowledge.

J.D. Detmer had an outstanding career at Hilliard Davidson high school, Hilliard, Ohio.

"As a team, we won the state championship last year and made the semis this year," Detmer remembers. "Personally, I got first team All-State this year and won a couple awards last year.

"I had a long field goal of 49 yards last year and 47 yards this year. I was 13 of 16 on field goals this year. I think I was 60 of 65 touchbacks on kickoffs this year. Last year, it was pretty close to that. So I had a pretty good career I think."

Detmer has committed to Toledo. He explains why he decided to visit Illinois.

"Toledo is aware I have had an interest in Illinois for a long time and have been talking to them for a long time."

Illinois head coach Ron Zook has a close relationship with kicking guru Tim Williams, and Detmer is his protégé.

"I've worked with Tim Williams and have been friends with him for awhile. I came to campus this summer for his kicking camp."

Possibly the main hang up is whether the Illini have a scholarship available for a placekicker. Like most punters and kickers, Detmer must wait until late in the recruiting process to know for sure what he wants to do.

"I talked to Ron Zook today. They're looking at me and they really like me, but as of now I'm still kind of waiting."

The 5'-8", 170 pounder enjoyed his visit to campus.

"It was really good. Everything went very well. After we watched practice Friday we got some food, and then the recruits hung out with the football players.

"Saturday we took a tour of the campus. Saturday night we went out to dinner and hung out with players again. Sunday we ate breakfast, and then each of us talked to the Coach."

Did the campus seem deserted with all the students away for the holidays?

"Yeah, that was the big thing. Everybody said campus was pretty closed, but we still had a good time. There was plenty to do. It was fun."

What is he looking for in a college?

"A couple things. The people make the program; the attitude the program has. Academics is a big part of it. At this point, I'm interested in Education. I want to be a teacher."

Detmer punted for his high school team, but he expects to specialize in placekicking in college. Williams has helped prepare him for college by working him without a tee on placements.

"Yeah, I've done that a little bit with Tim. It's a little bit of an adjustment, but it's not too bad after awhile."

Detmer wouldn't confirm a willingness to accept an Illinois scholarship if offered, but he is interested.

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