Orlando "Bandit" Considering Illinois

Guito Ervilus (Orlando Sentinel)

The "Bandit" position requires atall, rangy and quick athlete. He must be able to both rush the passer like a defensive end and cover like a linebacker. Illinois is targeting a player from the South who fits that mold.

Guito Ervilus, a 6'-5" 235 pound jack-of-all-trades athlete from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Florida, fills many roles for his team. He's relatively new to the game of football, but he's already finding ways to make his presence felt on the field.

"We did well as a team. We all are like brothers, and things came together and brought us closer together, and we had each other's backs. We were 8-3.

"Last year was my first year really playing since I'd never really played before. I was just reacting on the field."

With his size, Ervilus has an advantage on many of his opponents. At any of his many positions, he almost always has the edge.

"Believe it or not, I actually played corner and safety in practice. In games I play receiver. It's just me being an athlete. My coach is putting me in positions of need, and he trusts that I know the offense. He was drilling me, and eventually I got on defense at DE at first then OLB."

Ervilus suffered a setback this spring. He's been doing his best to recover and get back onto the field and continue the learning process.

"I actually tore my ACL. I did it at a spring practice. I got it fixed real fast, so I've been out for a little while. It's good though, and I'll be ready."

With so much versatility, Ervilus will likely have to settle on a position in high school in order to prepare for college. He tends to gravitate toward defense.

"I haven't really decided, but linebacker comes naturally to me. I started at receiver so that's natural to me now, but I think I'd be a better linebacker.

I'm starting to realize a lot of my athleticism. I know what I can do and what I can't do. I use my size to my advantage. Also, I can run by some guys despite being big."

Still, Ervilus knows he has a lot about football left to learn, something only experience can teach him.

"I really think I need to sit down and learn the game from the mental side. Coordination on defense and reacting better. Just getting used to really hitting and running around out there. I need more reps."

His natural athleticism serves him well.

"I have good speed, and my jumping and catching ability are pretty good too."

Ervilus hasn't gone unnoticed by college programs. Some big names are already after the jumbo athlete.

"Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee and South Florida are the main ones."

Ervilus knows what he wants in a college, a connection with the coaches and a home away from home.

"The atmosphere and the communication between the players and the coaching staff is important. I want it to feel like a family and home-type vibe. I want them to care about me and football both."

He hasn't taken many visits yet, but that will soon change. Ervilus is about to start what promises to be a busy run of recruiting.

"I really haven't taken any visits yet. I went to a couple spring games, but it wasn't really much of a visit. I'm going to Florida State in a couple weeks though."

One of the other schools vying for Ervilus's abilities is Illinois. They aren't at the top at this point, but they are very much in the picture.

"I'm still open. Illinois isn't right up top, but they're up there."

Illinois coach Mike Gillhamer has been after Ervilus so far. Gillhamer has already bonded with Ervilus; the two get along well.

"He's a cool guy. He's pretty funny, and sometimes he catches me off guard when we're talking."

A blend of size and athleticism, Ervilus shares many of the same traits as current Illini bandit Michael Buchanan. It's no wonder Illinois is seeking an athlete of his type for the position. One positive is that he plays a similar position now.

"Illinois wants me at that Bandit position. I think I'd be a great fit in that position. That's the one my coach is making me play on my team. That's one thing about Illinois that stood out, is that they want me at the position I play now."

A visit to Champaign is possible in the near future.

"Actually, at the end of the month I'm going to visit some of the farther colleges. That will probably be UGA, UNC, Tennessee, Illinois, Louisville, and Indiana."

Education will play a big factor in Ervilus's decision. With a mother who is an educator, he knows how important the classroom will be for the next four or five years.

"My mom is an assistant principal, and she's big on education. She'd like me to make sure my education is good. I'm really looking at Robotics Engineering."

Ervilus will take his time making a decision, but with a winter graduation coming soon, he plans to have the process completed in a timely manner.

"I'll be graduating early in January so I'll be an early entry. I'll probably decide by about midseason."

the meantime, Ervilus just wants to get back on the field and make strides in the right direction.

"I want to get my knee back for sure and play once I'm healthy and gear up for college."

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