Illini have eye on Kentucky QB

Illini have eye on Kentucky QB

Mark Perry knows a thing or two about quarterback play.

About to enter his first season this fall as the head coach at Lexington (Ky.) Catholic High School, Perry watched Tim Couch light up the SEC in the late 1990s since he was Couch’s backup at Kentucky.

The quarterback Perry will coach at Lexington Catholic during the 2014 season, Reese Ryan, doesn’t have the same notoriety Couch did during his college recruitment nearly two decades ago.

But Illinois and other programs are taking note.

Ryan, who stands at 6 feet, 2 inches and 180 pounds, has offers from Illinois, Akron and Louisville, with Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio) and Wake Forest expressing recent interest in Ryan.

“He brings a lot of skill sets that coaches like,” Perry said.

Ryan has been on the radar of the Illini coaching staff since last summer.

He impressed them enough during a one-day camp last June that Tim Beckman extended an offer.

“What he showed during the camp at Illinois was his abililty to throw the ball,” Perry said. “He throws the ball very well. He’s accurate and has a nice arm strenth. That’s what coach likes about him. He’s also a basketball kid. He’s deceivingly quick and fast. He can pull it down and make plays with his feet, too.”

Ryan did both last fall for the Knights, who went 10-4 before losing in a Class 4A state semifinal game. Kentucky has six classes of football, with 4A the third-largest.

Ryan accumulated 3,349 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions in completing 64 percent of his throws.

He added 301 rushing yards on 96 carries and four touchdowns.

“He is a really good player,” Perry said. “I was very fortunate to walk into a good situation with a kid like Reese. To me, what stands out to me and every college coach I’ve talked to about him is his football IQ. It’s one thing not only to talk about it or put it on the board, but to put it in action. He goes and attacks the next play.”

Perry said he is glad to see how Ryan has handled the recruiting process, not letting the extra attention overwhelm him.

“I told him the other day that on a scale of A-B-C-D, he’s at an A+,” Perry said. “He’s mature and taking everything in stride. He’s talking to every coach that’s come through the door. I’ve been very impressed with his maturity and his openess with everyone.”

Perry said he doesn’t know just yet when Ryan might decide on a college.

It could come this summer or later in the fall.

“All the information you can get when you’re making a decision this big is important,” Perry said. “I don’t expect anything before June.”

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