Illinois offered a scholarship to defensive end Dewayne Hendrix two days before Thanksgiving last November.
Many others, however, have joined the party in pursuit of the Class of 2014 prospect from O’Fallon (Ill.) High School.
At the time Hendrix — a teammate last fall of Darius Mosely, a defensive back who is one of 10 early enrollees Illinois has with the Class of 2013 — received his Illinois offer, interest in the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hendrix hadn’t reached the level it has these days.
O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee have all made offers to Hendrix, who is coming off a junior season which saw him make 60 tackles, including seven for loss, and four sacks, within the past week.
Hendrix attended an Illinois game last fall and is close with Mosely, which might help Illinois out even with some of the top programs in the country starting to hone in on Hendrix.
“It’s a connection he knows,” Joggerst said. “They’re friends, so they communicate frequently. With Illinois being the state school, he’s definitely going to take a look at them.”
Tim Beckman and his staff, however, will have to contend with not only Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee, but Indiana, Iowa, Kanasas State, Michigan State, Mississippi, Missouri, Northern Illinois, South Florida, Syracuse and Vanderbilt. Those schools have all made scholarships offers to Hendrix.
Joggerst said no timetable exists for when Hendrix will make a decision.
“He’s a very level-headed kid,” Joggerst said. “You wouldn’t know he has any offers at all if you talk to him. As much as it can get to be too overwhelming for a kid, he’s handling it well.”
O’Fallon played a base 4-4 defense last fall en route to an 8-3 record which ended in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs. Joggerst said Hendrix will have to contend with more double teams his senior season, but is anxious to see how he will end his prep career.
“A lot of times we’ll pass rush him out wide,” Joggerst said. “He’s got a very good first step. He’s a pretty relentless pass rusher, and he’s got a good motor. He definitely passes the eyeball test. He’s big, he can run and he definitely has long arms. He’s a physical player with a very good pass rush skill-set.”