Nick Tompkins Speaks Highly Of Illinois

Nick Tompkins (Jack Lyman)

The Fighting Illini football staff hosted a 7 on 7 camp and lineman camp on campus Saturday. They also hosted top-rated running back Nick Tompkins from Georgia. Tompkins has major offers from all over the nation, but he's considering Illinois strongly for his college choice.

Nick Tompkins has been busy since arriving at Illinois Saturday morning.

"We got in this morning about 11:30, doing an unofficial visit. I took a tour of campus already and then came out to the 7 on 7 tourney. I'll take a tour of the facilities after that."

By the time he arrived at the 7 on 7 tournament, he had also spent time with staff members DeAndre Smith, Paul Petrino and Ron West. He was impressed with all of them.

"I got to sit down with the running back coach and the offensive coordinator Coach Petrino. I watched some film and liked what I saw. It's a nice place.

"Coach Smith is a great coach, and he seems like a great guy. He's a kind of guy I can play for. He's a great chill guy. He's gonna be coaching me when I come here.

"Coach Petrino was saying with my speed, I can be a big playmaker in the offense. Especially with the quarterback they have right now. He was just a freshman. If you focus on him, you bring in a guy like me to make things happen for the Illinois offense. I know he did great last year, and Coach Petrino says he's always looking to get even better.

"I've talked to Coach West on the phone a couple of times, and we went on campus and had lunch with him. He's really excited about me, so he's on me to make a decision to come here."

Perhaps not by chance, Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and his dad Nate Creer met up with Tompkins and his dad at the 7 on 7 tournament. While the younger Tomkins visited with Scheelhaase, former Big 10 foes Creer and the elder Tompkins renewed an acquaintance from when Creer played at Iowa and Tompkins played at Wisconsin.

The 5'-10", 175 pounder talked about his assets as a running back.

"Definitely my speed, my vision, my quickness, my burst through the hole. I'm a small guy, but I feel I have power. I can get through the hole and make people miss."

Tompkins is also extremely bright and has his choice of schools for his academic ability.

"It's showed with the kind of offers I've got: Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke. I'm looking at a school with great academics. I want to major in Business, and Illinois does have a great Business school."

He may also wish to attend the same school as his defensive back teammate Zach Jackson, who also has an Illinois offer.

"Zach Jackson says he really likes Illinois. He's not coming to visit until sometime in July. If it works out, maybe we'll be coming here together. That would be great.

"We have talked about going to the same school. We have some of the same offers. I think this is a really special place, and he likes this place. He really likes it, and I really like it, so we'll go from here."

Tompkins is not ready to name a favorite, but even when talking about some of his other offers, he brings the Illini into the conversation.

"I visited Michigan State, and it's a great place. I have offers from schools back home plus Cal, Stanford, schools like that. I've got some other great offers, but this is a great place. I hope to make a decision before the season starts, that would be my goal."

Brookwood High School is a powerhouse located in Snellville, Georgia. Tompkins enjoys talking about his community and team.

"Snellville is probably about 25-30 minutes outside Atlanta. Brookwood is a 5-A school, the top one in Georgia. We play good football down there. There's a lot of speed down there. A lot of great athletes come out of Georgia.

We won the state championship last year. We look great this year. On offense, we've got a lot of guys back. We've got some receivers coming in, guys who can catch the ball. We've got a lot of athletes. We've got me coming back and a strong offensive line coming back. I think we'll do very well."

Tompkins wasn't ready to make a commitment, but he certainly spoke in glowing terms about his visit.

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