- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
AUSTIN, Texas -- Four-star cornerback Darius Mosely (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon Township) admitted his decision was a difficult one, but in the end he couldn’t pass up his in-state school.
Mosely called Illinois coaches on Saturday afternoon to deliver his verbal pledge. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect chose the Fighting Illini over Vanderbilt and also had offers from Arizona State, Michigan State and Iowa, among others.
“I chose Illinois because of the good academics and a chance for early playing time,” Mosely said. “It’s the in-state school, and my family and friends can come see me play. It’s a program that’s trying to get back on track, and I want to be a part of that.”
As the No. 9 ranked recruit in the state of Illinois, Mosely becomes the Illini’s top in-state pledge of its 13 commits. He’s ranked 41st among cornerback prospects and is the Illini’s second four-star pledge, joining quarterback Aaron Bailey (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook).
Mosely took unofficial visits to Illinois, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Missouri. When he narrowed his choices to two, going with the Commodores was appealing.
“It was pretty close, because Vandy is in the SEC and they have great academics and a great committed class,” Mosely said. “But Illinois is where I’m supposed to be.”
New Illinois coach Tim Beckman and his staff sold Mosely on the chance to compete for a starting job at corner immediately, and they won him over by relentlessly recruiting him this spring. He came to appreciate their flair for creativity.
“They were on me constantly,” he said. “They sent a picture with my face on a billboard that said ‘Welcome to Illinois: Coming soon.’ I was like, 'Wow.' They even sent one where they named a McDonald’s burger after me: the McMosely.”
Mosely made the call to Illinois coaches after participating in his first practice with Team USA. He’s spending the next two weeks in Austin, Texas, and playing in the IFAF Under-19 World Championship tournament that begins on June 30.
487dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert