Illinois assistant head coach Reggie Mitchell has many ties to the state of Michigan, but he has exceptionally close ties with Cass Technical School in Detroit. Those connections paid off this week when Illinois was able to grab one of the Technicians top prospects in the 2010 class.
Athlete Daniel Easterly held offers from the likes of Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue, Louisville, Wisconsin and Central Michigan, but it was the offer from Illinois that he has decided to accept.
"Daniel committed to Illinois yesterday," Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher reported. "We called them up and talked to the head coach. They were real excited.
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"Illinois came into the school early and was looking at him and he just decided that Illinois is the place for him. They have a good coaching staff down there."
One of Illinois' coaches, Mitchell, actually coached Wilcher at the University of Michigan back in the 1980's, and that connection helped the Illini in the recruitment of Easterly.
Easterly was last on Illinois' campus two weeks ago for the NIKE Training Camp. He also made visits to Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan and had been in close contact with Louisville the last several weeks.
The 6-4, 195-pound Easterly is still growing into his large frame and could play several positions from wide receiver to safety to linebacker at the college level. He recorded 58 tackles, three interceptions and broke up 15 passes playing defensive back for Cass Tech last fall.
"He'll play a safety/linebacker type [for Illinois] where he can run and cover," Coach Wilcher said. "That's kind of where we're putting him at too now. He's going to be a big kid and he's got a lot of speed too."