CHAMPAIGN – Usually college coaches watch film of high school recruits.
But roles reversed in the case of Nick Conner and Illinois recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Alex Golesh.
Golesh, entering his third year with the Illini, attended Dublin Scioto (Ohio), where Conner now stars at linebacker.
“He actually went to my high school. It’s pretty weird,” Conner said. “Coach Golesh recruits Ohio and he came by my school. We actually watched one of his games from high school. That was kind of cool.”
It was that connection that created Conner’s initial interest in the Illini. He visited in the fall for the Wisconsin game and returned on Saturday for an unofficial visit.
“We got a tour around the campus, got to see all the cool stuff with the campus,” Conner said. “We ate and watched highlight tapes and got to see what the linebacker coaches were like and stuff. Got to learn a couple of their plays.”
A four-star linebacker, Conner spent the night with fellow Ohio native Austin Schmidt after shadowing linebackers coach Mike Ward and Al Seamonson for most of the day.
“Coach Ward seems like a pretty cool coach, same with Coach Seamonson. Those are pretty cool coaches,” Conner said.
Illinois and Kentucky were the first to offer the 6-foot-3, 220-pound tackler back in the fall. His recruitment picked up tremendously in late January. Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, Pitt and West Virginia offered, and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer showed his interest by visiting the high school.
“I’m hoping to get an offer from him,” Conner said.
And so where do things go from here?
“I’m hoping to go to a couple more schools and see what they’re like and hopefully finish up my recruitment before my senior year,” he said.