Illini May Be On Verge Of Another Commitment

Ryan Frain (Donna Monroe)

The Fighting Illini football team loses star placekicker Derek Dimke to graduation after this season, so it is time to offer a scholarship for another kicker. It appears the Illini may have identified a good one in Indianapolis star Ryan Frain. If things go as smoothly as suspected, the Illini may have another commitment in the near future.

Ryan Frain plays for a small school in Indianapolis, but his reputation as a standout kicker precedes him. He made a big impression at an Illinois summer camp in June, and kicking guru Tim Williams recommends him highly. Frain visited campus for the OSU game Saturday and came away excited about it.

"I had a fantastic trip. My family and I had a chance to sit down with Coach (Ron) Zook after the game, and we talked about how we're gonna go about things from here. It was a good deal.

"Right now, he needs my transcripts. He trusts Tim Williams, and Tim thinks I'm ready to play. He wants me to go somewhere. He told Coach Zook I'm the best guy for Illinois, so Coach Zook has been on me. He said he wants me, and he just needs to see my transcripts to make sure I have no problem getting into the school."

Frain doesn't anticipate any problems with the transcript.

"My grades are above a 3.0, and my tests scores are decent. So I should be okay."

If Illinois accepts him into school and he receives an official offer, what will be his response?

"I accept."

Up to now, the Scecina Memorial High School star has no official offers.

"I'm heavily recruited by Indiana University, Western Michigan University, and last summer I had an inquiry with Ohio State and Cincinnati. Cincinnati ended up starting a freshman this year, so they didn't need anybody.

"I talked to the IU coach. He knows about the thing with Illinois. He knows they want me to be their guy, so that's about over. And Illinois killed Indiana last weekend. The coach and I have a pretty good relationship. He wanted someone to potentially come in and compete for a scholarship. I couldn't accept that. I need a scholarship."

Frain's season hasn't gone perfectly, but overall he's pleased with his results.

"It's been good; it's not been perfect. I've played well. I had only one week I thought I could have done better.

"I've made four field goals this year, from 49, 48, 46 and 27 yards. I missed from 51 and 52, and I had a 38 yard attempt on Friday night. I made it, but it got blocked. I think I'm 28 for 30 on extra points, and I haven't missed my last fifteen. I'm averaging 41.3 yards a punt."

He believes his team can go far in the playoffs.

"We're 6-3 right now. We had a huge upset win over the #4 ranked team in our class, 42-7. The team looks really good going into the sectional tournament, and we have a very good sectional and regional, so we'll see. We're a real small school, so we don't have to worry about teams like Cathedral or Warren Central."

The wind was a powerful deterrent to any kicking game in Memorial Stadium Saturday. Frain took note but isn't intimidated.

"I feel that separates the men from the boys. I was working out (Sunday) with one of our coaches, and the wind was the same way. It wasn't swirling like it was in the stadium at Illinois. I would say punting is where it has a huge effect because if the wind takes the ball out of your hand, you're screwed.

"The wind makes the ball rotate a lot different than if it is calmer. It really messes with it. It's a positive and negative though. If you've got that wind at your back, it's gonna help your distance. It's gonna hurt your hang time, but it definitely can help you. And it helps on field goals because you can back up a lot farther."

Frain enjoyed everything about his visit except the Illini loss, but he was already predisposed to the school and environment.

"I really enjoyed it. I went down last year for a game, and I loved that place. I thought it was a great football environment. It's pretty amazing."

It sounds like another Illini commitment is on the horizon.

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