Learn More About Commit Hunter Wells

Hunter Wells (Peoria Journal-Star)

Recruiting is all about evaluating and finding the best fits for your program. It's also about discovering talent before anyone else does. The Illinois coaching staff unearthed a gem this past week and offered Hunter Wells immediately.

For Hunter Wells, the 6'-6", 280 pound lineman from Canton (IL) High School, this past week has been a whirlwind.

"My coach said Illinois wanted game film on Monday, so he over-nighted it on Tuesday. By Thursday, I had the offer. It's been crazy since then.

"I walked in to Walgreens the other day to buy a new binder for math class, and four people I had never met before said congratulations. Everything has been going fast. My town is pretty small so news travels fast."

Wells knew he was good, but the Illinois offer took him by surprise.

"When Northern Illinois and Illinois State started looking at me, it blew me away. When Illinois starting looking at me, I couldn't believe it. I knew I was good, but I didn't know I was that good."

Wells and his head coach will visit Illinois on Monday.

"We're going to go see Coach Zook and Coach Gilbert, the offensive line coach. We'll take a tour of the facilities. Coach Zook said something about visiting the weight room during a workout session."

Wells is spending the off-season improving his game.

"I was doing track and field, but once I got the Illinois offer I figured track and field wouldn't be best for me. Last year I lost a lot of muscle mass because I didn't have time to lift. Now, I'm in the weight room four times a week and working on my speed and agility."

Wells has always been a head of his classmates on the football field.

"I started on the sophomore team as a freshman. I then moved up to the varsity team during my sophomore year. I've always been an offensive lineman. Freshman year I played both sides of the ball, but when I moved up to varsity I was strictly an offensive lineman.

"My sophomore year we had a spread offense, and we passed 9 out of 10 plays. This year we ran 9 out of 10 plays. So that's helped me a lot in pass and run blocking. I still want to work on my pass blocking and get my upper body stronger so I can deliver that first crucial hit."

Illini coaches will decide his best position, but Wells has a preference.

"Hopefully, I'll be a tackle in college. That's my bread and butter. I'm a lot more effective there."

By offering first, Illinois received a commitment from a talented player and put itself in a great position even if another BCS level school offers.

"I would probably take a visit, but since Illinois offered me the first scholarship I would stick with them. Illinois and Iowa are my two favorite teams."

Wells' team didn't do so well last year, but he hopes to get that turned around.

"Last year we had about 14 seniors who worked their butts off. They were strong and had good size. We had four or five camps over the summer. It was just we didn't have enough talent and not enough people coming out. This year we have even less size and even less people.

"We have an open gym where the seniors teach the younger ones plays. We're doing everything we can to improve ourselves and play better next year.

"My head coach is the future of the program here. We just don't have the kids coming out for it now, but in 10 years Canton will be one of the best teams in the conference. He's laying the foundation for a dynasty. We'll need to compete with Metamora and Washington, the best teams in the conference right now."

Football means everything to Wells.

"My goal was getting a Division One scholarship and I accomplished that. I love the game. I wouldn't be myself without football. The offer is even more motivation.

"I never used to run on my own unless it was with my teammates, but the past two days I've been out running on my own. It's brought my dedication to another level."

Wells sounds like he will be a good representative for the U of I.

"I'm going to a program where people have pride and the players play hard to make the fans proud. I want to continue that. I want to play with players who work hard and can show the world what Illinois football is about."

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