The Difference-Maker

"I'm leaning towards Illinois because their program is on the rise and I think they are going to start winning," said's No. 2 defensive end Martez Wilson. "I would love to be apart of that. Have my name get out there and make a difference..."

Five-star defensive end Martez Wilson (6-4, 228, 4.5), from Simeon Vocational High School in Chicago (Ill.), said he favors Illinois slightly over Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and USC. All have offered.

Wilson just completed his high school season (7-5) and is getting ready for his first official trip to USC this Friday when the Irish are in town. He has a very close relationship with his head coach Jesse Chick, who asked that he not start thinking about making a decision until his season was over.

"Coach Chick has given me his thoughts on what I should look for in a school and team, but the final decision is mine," said's No. 2 defensive end. "He's guiding me, helping me keep my head level, and says he will support me no matter where I go. He wanted me to focus and stay close to my teammates during our season. He said that there was plenty of time to make my decision.

"When I return from USC, I'll be going to Notre Dame on December 1, then to Ohio State on December 8, Michigan on December 15 and finally Illinois on January 19.

"I'm leaning towards Illinois because their program is on the rise and I think they are going to start winning," he said. "I would love to be apart of that. Have my name get out there and make a difference. I'm also friends with quarterback Juice Williams and receiver Chris James. They tell me what it's like for them there--which I like, but I'm not letting them make my decision for me.

"I've been speaking with all the coaches and they pretty much say the same thing. They like the fact that I have size, speed and ability. It's rare. Coaches say things to you while you are being recruited and promise you a lot of things. The fact is that everything changes when you get there. I'll be looking to make a difference, play right away, and have the coaches' trust.

"I'm a strong player and plan to go pro. I play offense and defense but schools are recruiting me for defense," he emphasized. "When it comes down to it, I look at what school is going to benefit me more and help me to get to the next level. That includes preparing me, playing time and exposure. I can only make my decision after my visits. I'm being recruited by some great schools."

Final senior season (7-5) stats: 240 tackles/7 sacks/1 interception/1 forced fumble/1 fumble recovered; 42 Catches/1005 yards/9 TDs

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