Teko Powell, a senior defensive tackle from Miami powerhouse Norland High School, visited Illinois this weekend and immediately fit right in.
“I liked that Coach (Ron Zook) treated us like we were a part of the team. They treated us like we were family. I like the academics. They have what
I want to major in (Computer Engineering). I’m really feeling it.”
One of the most impressive things to Powell was on the academic side. He liked how Illinois prepares players for their futures, whether they make it to the next level or not.
“They have a strong job placement after you graduate too. If that doesn’t work out they still look out for you and help you if you need it.”
That welcoming feeling went a long way with Powell. In comparison to some of the other visits he has taken, Powell felt much more appreciated and a part of the program from the start.
“I talked with the d-line coach, Coach (Keith) Gilmore, Coach (Joe) Gilbert and Coach Zook. They’re just open and welcoming. They treat you like
you’re a part of the program. A couple of the other schools I’ve been to, they just treat you nice because they want you. But I met families, and they opened up to me.”
On top of the atmosphere, Powell could find his way to the field early. And the idea of having some of his teammates join him at Illinois is something he’ll consider.
“I look at depth at my position. I’d like to have some of my teammates come up with me, and they’ve offered some of my teammates.”
Powell got to spend time with some other Florida natives on the team during the visit.
“A.J. Jenkins, Akeem Spence. They’re cool. They have a lot of fun.”
Illinois was the first official visit for Powell, but it won’t be the last. He’ll be visiting the two teams featured in the “Game of the Century” just a week ago.
“Illinois was the first visit I took. I have two more coming up maybe this month. I think I’ll visit Alabama and LSU. They’ve both offered me.”
Still, at this point Powell holds all of the teams recruiting him even. He won’t be deciding for awhile, so he wants to be patient with the process.
“Everybody’s still about the same until I take my other visits. I might even make one to Florida. After I take my visits, then I’m going to sit down and sort them out from there.
“I just have to pick the one that’s right for me. I’ll be deciding on National Signing Day.”
Powell has received guidance from some family along the way. Drawing from their experience in the recruiting process has helped him handle things much better.
“I only talk to my big brother about recruiting. He had a chance to go to South Carolina and play for them, but his senior year in their championship game he blew out his knee, and he was done. I had another
brother who had a scholarship to Oregon. They understand the whole recruiting process and know the difference between good schools and average schools.”
Visiting with his teammates definitely made the Illinois visit better for Powell. He formed new relationships, but he also got to spend time with some close teammates.
“It was fun. We got to have fun as a team. It’s nice because I wasn’t by myself. Even though I didn’t know too many people, it was nice having my guys with me too so we could all have a good time