B.J. Bello Switches Commitment To Illini

B.J. Bello (Jack Lyman)

The new Fighting Illini football coaching staff is determined to recruit athletes from the state of Illinois. They proved it again today with the commitment of Lincoln-Way West safety B.J. Bello. He was committed to Western Michigan before Coach Tim Beckman and staff convinced him to make the switch.

Lincoln-Way West safety B.J. Bello visited Illinois this weekend and committed to his home state school. He had been committed to Western Michigan but changed his mind. He was impressed by his official visit.

"It was good, I loved it. It was a great place; it just felt right. All the players are great, the coaches are even better. Their facilites and all, it was just a plus for everything."

Bello already enjoyed familiarity with the Illini coaching staff.

"I was already real close to them. They're the same coaches that offered me at Toledo. So I've been real close to them for a long time."

And Illini players made a strong impression as well.

"I met a lot of my new teammates. They're all real good guys. They showed me a real good time."

It had to be hard for him to decline Western Michigan after developing a quality relationship with their coaches.

"Yeah it was."

The 6'-2", 210 pounder is exquisitely built, and he has the smarts to go with it. Illini coaches will take advantage of his skills and size in the defensive backfield.

"I'm gonna start off as a hybrid safety in a 4-2-6. Wherever I can help, I guess. I'll probably play some linebacker too."

Bello was impressive in a UI summer camp and later at a Team First camp in Memorial Stadium. He followed that up with a good senior season.

"My senior year was good. I was all-conference and all-area. Our team lost in the first round of the playoffs to Joliet Catholic. I played safety in high school, but we were in a 4-3, so even though I was a safety, I was all over the place."

Bello plans to major in Kinesiology or Physical Therapy.

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