- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
If Tim Beckman is going to turn Illinois around, it will take the state’s top prospects staying in state and playing for the Illini. The first-year Illini coach is not shy about letting top 2014 Illinois prospects know that either.
When Watch List offensive tackle Jamarco Jones from Chicago De La Salle walked in Beckman’s office Saturday, he saw his picture on the wall.
“They had a picture with some prospects on a poster. It was cool to see. I was pretty excited,” Jones said. “It shows how important we are as recruits and what they think we can do or the program.”
Although the Illini lost another Big Ten contest, it did not put a damper on the visit for Jones, one of the Midwest’s top 2014 linemen.
“It went pretty good. I got to talk to some of the coaches,” Jones said. “[Illinois] played pretty hard and lost at the end but it was a tough, hard-fought game.”
Jones’ next visit will come Saturday, when he travels back to Columbus to visit Ohio State for the Michigan game.
“Ohio State-Michigan is one of the biggest rivalries in college football so I’m looking forward to that,” Jones said. “I heard a lot about Ohio State on game day, and it’s my first actual game so I’m looking forward to it.
“They can’t go to any bowl games but they’re undefeated and Michigan is trying to play to get to a Big Ten championship,” Jones said.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Jones has offers from the likes of Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin.
5dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney