Speedy Edwards Has Strong Illini Interest

Ja'Len Edwards (Jack Lyman)

The Fighting Illini are looking far and wide for speedy receivers who can stretch the field and pose problems for secondaries. One of those being considered for a scholarship is Indiana star Ja'Len Edwards. A strong relationship with his position coach and two visits to campus make the Illini a possible destination for the talented receiver.

Ja'Len Edwards had a tremendous junior season at Avon High School in Indiana. He feels that and his impressive speed in the forty yard dash make him attractive to college recruiters.

"My junior season went really well, leading my team with receiving TDs and yards at receiver. After my season, I started to get a lot of exposure because of my speed. I ran a 4.38 40 and run a 4.44 consistently. But I'd definitely say I had a pretty good season."

Edward's ambition knows no limits.

"I have so many goals for next season. I want to be the best receiver in the state of Indiana, and one of the top in the country.

"I can make my goals attainable by putting in hard work on and off the field. I have to have a mindset of me wanting to be the best at everything I do. When I say that, I mean everything. Competition with myself will help make that possible."

He may be a little shorter than his listed 5'-10," but the 155 pounder can run free in almost any defensive backfield.

"My speed is a major strength, and my route running is a big deal too. I can confuse the defenses I go up against with my routes."

As a senior, he realizes he needs to be more responsible for his teammates.

"I probably want to improve by being more vocal on the field and having more of a leadership role on the team."

Edwards enjoyed his recent visits to the Illinois campus.

"On the first visit I toured the facilities, watched the team practice and got to meet the coaches. The second time I visited was at the spring game. It was a lot of excitement; I loved it! The fan support was amazing, and the coaches were cool too."

The Illini have made a strong impression on Edwards, especially offensive coordinator and receiver coach Billy Gonzales.

"The Illini are awesome. They are a brand new coaching staff that is looking for a change in a good way. My position coach Gonzales is awesome and loves speed.

"He's a smart coach that knows what he wants. He came from LSU where there was a lot of speedy players, so I know that's what he likes. I'm that guy. He also wants kids that can make plays, and I'm a playmaker. He's an awesome coach all-around."

It sounds like Edwards is infatuated enough to consider a commitment should he receive an offer from the Illini.

"Yeah, it could be possible. My options are open right now, but you never know. I would love that offer from them. I know it's coming soon."

Tennessee, Cincinnati, Michigan, Louisville, Kentucky, Minnesota and Purdue are among a number of other schools following Edwards's progress. But he has only one scholarship offer so far.

"I have an offer from Western Kentucky, but I should see some soon from Ball State, Illinois and Purdue."

Edwards wants to check out a couple programs in the near future.

"I plan to go back to Western Kentucky and Purdue pretty soon. Then I'll go from there and see what happens."

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