2014 Lima Central Catholic defensive back Darius West attended the Friday Night Lights summer camp at Illinois in June. He was impressed with everything Illini, including head coach Tim Beckman and his recruiting coach Mike Ward.
"There was a real nice atmosphere at the camp, and I really liked the facilities and the coaches. Coach Beckman was great."
He was especially impressed with Illinois's recent history of producing NFL-ready defensive backs, including Vontae Davis and Eugene Wilson, who starred a few years ago.
West said his father was the main man helping him on his recruiting. His mother and older sister are also helping.
"They cheer me on, whether I've done something good or not."
He said it's really nice to have the family involved, and with Illinois being six hours away, it will be the farthest school he will consider since he wants his family to still be involved in his college life.
Schools recruiting West include Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville and Illinois. There are also several MAC schools in the picture.
Even though it is early, he has a top 3: Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio State, in no particular order. The Ohioan has attended camp at each of his top 3, with Illinois the first to give him an offer.
The Illini's big, beautiful weight room is important to a player who has gone from 183 to 195 pounds in the past few months. Despite the weight gain, he averaged 4.45 seconds for the 40 yard dash at camps this summer, with a personal best of 4.36 seconds at OSU.
West seeks a college that is as strong academically as on the football field.
"Academics are playing a big part in my decision."
He would like to major in Sports Management and is aware of Illinois's reputation in the field. Illinois was the first program in the nation to offer a graduate degree with a concentration in Sports Management. He currently has a qualifying GPA and plans to take the ACT within the next year.
On a more personal note, West likes to pattern his game after Troy Polamalu. He enjoys listening to J. Cole and watching the Gridiron Gang in his free time.
A great player, a heartwarming movie and an academic foundation. All three are important parts of Darius West. What more could the Illinois staff want to add to their family atmosphere?