The city of St. Louis has been an area that the Illini football program has attempted to tap into for years but have been stumped by the likes of more prominent programs like Oklahoma and others. Last week, I interviewed 2020 Trinity Catholic HS RB Mookie Cooper and he spoke highly of the culture that the Illini staff is trying to instill around the program. Many fans are wondering, “What is the attraction to the University of Illinois?”
To begin with the obvious, it is the pipeline that Coach Cory Patterson brings from his time at TCHS. He has coached and seen each of these players grow and is even a father figure to most of them.
Secondly, the staff has a lot of NFL coaching experience and they will provide these young recruits with an opportunity to continue pursuing their dream of reaching the next level. This week, I interviewed Reggie Love who is a 3* RB recruit and also a part of the 2020 class. He has a total 14 scholarship offers currently, headlined by offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Notre Dame, TCU, and Wisconsin. I took sometime to speak to him about his recruitment.
AS: Why do you play the game of football?
Reggie Love: I always loved the game of football. The way I grew over the years really made me want to play football, specifically because of my body type, but 7th grade is the year I knew I could do something special with the football.
AS: What would you say are some of your strengths of your game and what do you think you need to improve on?
Reggie Love: I’m a down-hill runner. I have great vision, very explosive, and can play inside and out. I want to improve on my route running and catching the ball out of the backfield.
AS: There are a lot of great programs that have offered you. Which are the ones that stand out to you?
Reggie Love: TCU, Notre Dame, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa St, and Kentucky.
AS: Are you planning on taking and visits soon or over the summer?
Reggie Love: I’m going to be at Illinois next weekend and I’m going to try to visit most if not all the schools that have offered me.
AS: How was your last visit to Champaign?
Reggie Love: It was great, like always. I always feel welcomed whenever I visit there.
AS: How would it feel to play with your brothers from Trinity and your former head coach?
Reggie Love: It would be exciting to reunite and see if we can do what we did at Trinity at the next level.
AS: Who are some of the guys that you have been talking to about this?
Reggie Love: Isaiah and Bryce are trying to recruit us to come to Illinois everyday at school. They are the main guys that bring it up.
AS: Is there any program that you would say is the sole leader in your recruitment?
Reggie Love: Nope, still to be determined.
Trinity Catholic HS seems to be a life line for the Illini football program. Isaiah Williams and Bryce Childress are busy recruiting the Trinity blood line in the hope of building something special. They have both been in contact with Reggie Love and he is truly a passionate football player that will pour his blood and sweat on the field for whatever school he chooses.
I think Reggie will consider Illinois as one of his final schools, however, he might not be a lock as I expect his recruitment to continue to blow up this season. Either way, everything is looking up for the Illini football program and the Trinity Catholic HS connection.