Illini In Top 3 For Pennsylvania Star

Greg Garmon (Jack Lyman)

The Fighting Illini football team entertained an important visitor for the first day of Camp Rantoul. Four-star running back Greg Garmon came from his home in Pennsylvania to check out the school and observe practice. The talented athlete says the Illini are in his top three as he studies offers from all over the country.

Greg Garmon arrived at Illinois around 9:00 am after traveling from his home in Erie, Pennsylvania. The four-star running back had a busy and productive day checking out the campus and the Illini's first day at Camp Rantoul.

"I've been going to position meetings, seeing some film, seeing the campus. I went to see the new weight room. It's unbelievable, it's so nice. And I've been talking to a couple players and just enjoying myself. It's real nice down here, very nice."

He and Illini running back coach DeAndre Smith have developed a close bond through the recruiting process, and they were able to become better acquainted on the visit.

"That's my man. My first time meeting Coach Smith was over Facebook. He told me some things about him, I told him some things about me. After that, we just had a connection."

Smith made it clear to the 6'-2", 200 pounder the Illini feature a diversified running attack and have placed a number of backs in the pros.

"Coach Smith gave me a couple tapes that he did with his running backs. They look real nice, how they switch from the spread to the "I". And they run options and all the counters. They look real nice. It's gonna have teams guessing."

Illinois is hoping Garmon is developing strong relationships with the players and other coaches on his visit. That appears to be an important criteria for him when choosing a school.

"I want a relationship with the coaches. I don't want to go so far away from Erie, Pennsylvania, that when I get there I feel homesick, feel out of place. If I have a good relationship with the coaches, and if me and the players really get along, then that would make me feel at home."

Garmon favored North Carolina until its coach Butch Davis was fired. Now, he sees the Illini as a major player for his services.

"Illinois is definitely in my top three since what happened at North Carolina. It's definitely gonna be one of the three hats I pick from. I'm gonna announce my decision at the U.S. Marine game in Phoenix, Arizona. I think it's January 2nd."

There is some disagreement among college coaches regarding Garmon's best position. The Illini want him as a running back, but he plays defensive back also. Ohio State and Pitt are among those who prefer him on defense. He was asked about his defensive potential.

"Probably because of my size and speed. I can cover all over the field and cover big receivers."

With a 4.36 forty time, defensive coaches would love to have him. He has a preference, but he realizes coaches have the final say.

"I'd rather play running back, that's where I feel more comfortable at. But if I have to, I'll play defensive back. I have a feeling whatever school I go to, they're gonna pick my position anyway."

Garmon is hoping to improve on his tremendous junior season at McDowell High School despite the number of seniors who have graduated.

"Our team looks real good. We've got some new players from areas around our region. We lost nine starters on both sides of the ball. I think this team is more physical and have more speed on both sides of the ball. We're just a little undersized, but size don't mean a lot.

Our offensive line is huge this year. They're working better and are more lean and not so big that they can't move. A lot of pulling guards and tackles this year. This year, me and my line want to go over 2000 yards.

Garmon has two more stops after Illinois before returning home.

"I'll be going to Iowa, and then I'll be at Notre Dame. I'm just going to Notre Dame because I haven't ever been there yet. And the coaches wanted me to go there and talk to Coach (Brian) Kelly."

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