Chayce Crouch was adamant about one item.
“I’m not a Buckeye fan,” the newest Illinois football commit in the Class of 2014 said about Ohio State, which is roughly a 30-minute drive from his home in Newark, Ohio.
Crouch, who is listed at 6 feet, 4 inches and 215 pounds, will get the chance to possibly play at the Horseshoe or beat the Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium now that the quarterback has made a college decision.
“I visited Illinois in April, and other than my visit to Illinois, I really didn’t have a connection to them,” said Crouch, who is the fourth recruit Tim Beckman has landed with the Class of 2014. “I really fell in love with their program, with the team and the attitude towards winning.”
Even if Illinois is coming off a 2-10 season and will start the 2013 campaign on a nine-game losing streak and 14-game Big Ten losing streak that dates back to a win on Oct. 8, 2011 at Indiana.
“I love the fact that they’re going to be the underdog,” Crouch said. “There’s something about the underdog that always has more fight and more urgency to win other than the team that’s already on top. That mentality was clear in their practices I watched. Everybody was busting their tails. The energy that they produced in their practices was unbelievable because of the fact that they knew they need to prove people wrong this year.”
Crouch held offers from Mid-American Conference schools from Kent State, Toledo and Western Michigan before receiving one from Illinois last Wednesday.
He didn’t wait long to decide, committing the day he received the offer.
“The coaches from Illinios have truly been absolutely unbelievable throughout the entire recruiting process,” said Crouch, who was primarily recruited by offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and tight ends and specialists coach/recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh. “Sitting thtrough films with Coach Cubit, I could just tell how intelligent he is and how great a coach he is by his resume and the presence he has in the room. We’ve built very, very good relationships over the last three months.”
We’ll have more on Crouch and the other schools that were looking at him in Wednesday’s blog entry.