The state of Illinois has put together several strong classes of offensive linemen in a row, and it appears as though the 2014 class will fall right in line.
Leading the way could be Chicago De La Salle's 6'5, 290-lb Jamarco Jones, who has been pegged by some as the cream of the crop in that class already. Jones' recruitment got going in a big way on Wednesday when Illinois became the first school to offer him.
"It feels really good," he said of the offer. "It's pretty exciting right now. I wasn't really expecting it and I was just at lunch and my coach came down and told me, so I was pretty excited. My family said they were excited for me and told me to keep working hard, stay in the books and everything."
Continuing work hard should be easier for Jones now that he has linked up with former All-American Mike Jones at Core 6. Jones has worked with many of the state's best and feels Jones has the tools to be elite.
"He's just a sophomore and you look at his frame, he looks so fully developed. His pass protection skills are well beyond his age. His arms are so long. His arms are much longer than his 6'5 height, if that makes sense. His arms are much longer than a guy 6'5 should have. Great wingspan, natural pass protector, natural athlete, big frame, I look at that kid and say every BCS school in the country is going to offer that kind of kid."
If he does receive those offers, he will be open to going farther away from home even though his first offer comes from within the state.
"Location, I don't think it's going to play a huge role in my decision," he admitted."
Jones has also heard from Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Michigan. He visited the Irish for their spring game and liked what he saw.
"It was really nice," he said of the visit. "I really liked the spring game, their fan base, you can tell they really enjoy sports. I liked the environment. They play hard, and they're passionate about their team and school."
That is why Notre Dame will be one of Jones' camp stops this summer.
"Right now for sure I'm going to Iowa, Illinois and Notre Dame. I might be going to Stanford and Wisconsin also."
When that happens, his new O-Line mentor is confident schools will see a prospect with immense potential worthy of an offer.
"Once he learns more effectively how to block people with better technique, that's when he's really going to unleash what his 6'5, 290-lb frame is capable of, but right now, natural feet, looks like a natural left tackle with really long arms and really good reach for his punch in pass protection and that's something you really can't teach kids."