- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
A fan of the Illini growing up, it is no surprise Illinois leads for three-star linebacker Reggie Spearman (Chicago/Simeon) after offering at the end of June.
The 6-foot-1, 218-pound outside linebacker, who made a name for himself on the camp scene with a series of outstanding performances, received the offer while in Texas playing for the U-19 Team USA. Having returned July 8, his focus is back on the recruiting process before gearing up for the start of his senior season.
“Definitely Illinois is the No. 1 school, just because there’s a lot of connections at Illinois,” the one-time Indiana commit said. “I like the coaching staff, really like the school. I grew up a big fan. Being down there is a great experience. They’re definitely my favorite.”
Houston, Indiana, Minnesota and Northern Illinois round out his top five (in no order). Having spent a few weeks in Texas, Spearman would have liked to visit the Cougars while down in the area. However, his obligations to Team USA took up nearly all of his time.
That will change when the season starts, as Spearman plans to take his first official visit to Houston. Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota are three other programs that could receive a visit, depending on if the Hawkeyes or Cyclones offer. The Gophers offered Spearman back in June.
Spearman is good friends with three-star safety Malik Rucker, an Iowa commit. Rucker was also on the U-19 team with Spearman.
As for the Cyclones, Spearman definitely expects an offer in the near future.
Another offer Spearman expects to get is Kentucky. The Wildcats would be offer No. 11 for Spearman.
“Interest from schools increased from being down (in Texas). I’m talking to Kentucky more,” Spearman said. “I talked to Kentucky on July 7, the day before I left. They really want me there. I’m pretty sure an offer might be coming soon from them.”
Spearman visited and camped at Ohio State on June 23 and was planning to return to Columbus next week for Friday Night Lights on July 27. A scheduling conflict with his high school’s preseason scrimmage on July 28 will prevent him from making that trip.
546dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert