Football
Beckman, Staff Sign 19 to National Letters of Intent

 
Beckman introduced the 2012 class at Assembly Hall.
Beckman introduced the 2012 class at Assembly Hall.
 

Feb. 1, 2012

Signing Day Headquarters | Recruit Highlights | Photos

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced his first Fighting Illini recruiting class on Wednesday. In all, 19 student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to play football for the Fighting Illini in 2012. The class is made up of 14 skill players, four linemen and a kicker that have played in over 160 playoff games and seven state championship games, won four state titles and one national championship, and one even won a state title in track. Twelve players have over a 3.0 grade point average in high school and one is in position to be valedictorian of his class. The group features six players from Ohio, five from Florida, four from Illinois, and one each from Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

2012 University of Illinois Football Signees

Name         		Pos.	Ht.	Wt.	Hometown/High School
Dami Ayoola		RB	5-10	210	Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas
Robbie Bain		OL	6-3	300	Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook
Taylor Barton		DB	6-1	200	Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep
B.J. Bello		DB	6-2	205	New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West
V'Angelo Bentley	DB	5-10	180	Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Devin Church		RB	5-8	175	Southfield, Mich./Brother Rice
Ryan Frain		K	6-1	210	Indianapolis, Ind./Scecina
Justin Hardee		DB	6-1	185	Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Jevaris Little        	DB	6-1	180	St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood
Mason Monheim         	LB	6-1	215	Orrville, Ohio/Orrville
T.J. Neal		LB	6-1	225	McKeeseport, Pa./McKeeseport
Teko Powell		DL	6-3	290	Miami, Fla./Norland
J.J. Robertson        	WR	6-1	185	Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East
Joe Spencer		OL	6-4	270	Mason, Ohio/Mason
Mike Svetina		LB	6-2	220	Brunswick, Ohio/St. Ignatius
LaKeith Walls		RB	6-3	195	Cleveland, Ohio/Rhodes
Vontrell Williams	DL	6-2	275	Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel

Spring 2012 Early Enrollees

Ta'Jarvis Fuller      	DB	6-1	190	Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar
Daniel Rhodes         	TE	6-3	250	Charlotte, N.C./Independence

Committed Walk-on

Michael Martin         	LS	6-3	200	Champaign, Ill./Centennial

Dami Ayoola | Highlights
RB, 5-10, 200, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas
High School Coach: Rocco Casullo
Intended Major: Engineering
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Annie White, Football Academic Counselor

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 18 tailback in the nation by MaxPreps.com ... Listed as the No. 27 running back in the nation and as a top-60 player in Florida by Rivals.com ... Named to the SuperPrep Florida 110 team ... Part of 2008 and 2010 state championship teams ... 2010 team was named national champions by multiple outlets ... Rushed for 549 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, averaging 5.7 yards per carry ... Rushed for 855 yards as a junior ... Played in the Under Armour Dade vs. Broward All-Star Football Game. Personal: The son of Folukemi Fadenipo ... Born Oct. 28, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Iowa, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and West Virginia, among others.

Robbie Bain | Highlights
OL, 6-3, 300, Bolingbrook, Ill. / Bolingbrook
High School Coach: John Ivlow
Intended Major: Sport Management
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Lori Kay Paden, Undergraduate Advisor, RST

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Named to the 2012 SuperPrep Midwest team ... Listed as the No. 22 prospect in the state of Illinois by Rivals.com ... Helped team to 2011 Illinois Class 8A state championship ... Named a first-team All-State selection by the Chicago Tribune in 2011 ... Named to the 2011 Class 8A All-State team by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association ... 2011 All-Southwest Suburban Blue Conference selection ... One of the top heavyweight wrestlers in Illinois. Personal: The son of Cindy Bain ... Is the youngest of four brothers ... Brother, Ryan, played defensive line at Iowa and Akron ... Born June 9, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Ball State and Bowling Green, among others.

Taylor Barton | Highlights
DB, 6-1, 200, Orlando, Fla. / Lake Highland
High School Coach: Tim Borcky
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Tim Flanagin, Academic Advisor, College of Business

High School: Rated a three-star recruit Rivals.com ... Named a second-team Florida Class 4A All-State selection in 2011 after posting 67 tackles, three interceptions, three sacks and forcing four fumbles ... Posted 93 tackles, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries in 2010. Personal: The son of Mary and Don Barton ... Born Oct. 16, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Syracuse and others.

B.J. Bello | Highlights
DB, 6-2, 205, New Lenox, Ill. / Lincoln-Way West
High School Coach: Mark VanderKooi
Intended Major: Kinesiology
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Sheri Shaw, Program Coordinator, Academic Affairs

High School: Rated a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Named All-Area by the Joliet Herald-News ... Had 81 tackles, three TFLs, one forced fumble and one interception in 2011, leading Lincoln-Way West to a second-straight IHSA Class 5A playoff appearance. Personal: The son of Adebukola and Lawrence Bello ... Born Oct. 31, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Minnesota, Western Michigan, Toledo, Ball State and Bowling Green.

B'Angelo Bentley signing day photo V'Angelo Bentley | Highlights
DB, 5-10, 180, Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
High School Coach: Ted Ginn, Sr.
Intended Major: Engineering
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Bruce Litchfield, Assistant Dean, College of Engineering

High School: Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Rated as the No. 19 cornerback nationally by Tom Lemming ... Played in the Semper Fi All-America Game in Arizona ... Glenville won 2011 Cleveland city championship ... Member of 2009 team that played in the Division 1 state title game ... Runs a 4.47 40-yard dash ... Also was a key member of Glenville's track and field squad ... High school teammate of fellow Illini signee Justin Hardee. Personal: The son of Vernon Bentley and Angela Pope ... Born Nov. 4, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Iowa, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Air Force, Toledo, Ohio, Kent State and Bowling Green.

Devin Church | Highlights
RB, 5-8, 175, Southfield, Mich. / Brother Rice
High School Coach: Al Fracassa
Intended Major: Undecided
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Carrie Mulvaney, Academic Advisor for Division of General Studies

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 22 overall prospect in the state of Michigan by Rivals.com ... Named to Detroit Free Press Dream Team and played in Michigan East/West All-Star Game ... Rushed for a school-record 1,919 yards in 2011, including 938 yards in five playoff games ... Rushed for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries in the MHSAA Division 2 state championship game to lead Brother Rice to a state title. Personal: The son of Monica and Donald Church ... Born Sept. 7, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Boston College, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Bowling Green.

Ryan Frain | Highlights
K, 6-1, 210, Indianapolis, Ind. / Scecina Memorial
High School Coach: Ott Hurrle
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Annie White, Football Academic Counselor

High School: Rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com ... Ranked the No. 15 kicker in the nation by Scout.com ... Ranked as the No. 13 kicker and No. 2 punter nationally by Kornblue Fab 50 ... Named to the 2011 Indianapolis All-City team ... Helped Scecina Memorial to an IHSAA Class 1A state runner-up finish in 2011 ... Named to the IHSAA Class 1A All-State team ... Participated in the 2011 Kohl's National Scholarship camp, finishing 10th in field goals ... Averaged 40.3 yards per punt, had touchbacks on 51 of 71 kickoffs and made field goals of 49, 48, 46 and 43 yards in 2011. Personal: The son of Barbara and Nick Frain... Born Feb. 4, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Georgia Tech.

Ta'Jarvis Fuller | Highlights
DB, 6-1, 190, Fort Myers, Fla. / Dunbar
High School Coach: Phil Vogt
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Annie White, Football Academic Counselor

High School: Early enrollee is taking classes at Illinois this spring ... A three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... 2012 Parade All-American ... Ranked the No. 44 outside linebacker prospect in the nation by ESPNU ... Named a Florida Class 4A All-State selection in 2011 ... Named the Fort Myers News-Press 2011 Defensive Player of the Year ... Totaled 166 tackles, six sacks, seven PBUs, five forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2011 ... Named MVP of the South team in the John Carrigan Rotary South All-Star Classic. Personal: The son of Shanika Idlette and Tyrone Fuller ... Born Nov. 16, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Wisconsin, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa State, among others.

Justin Hardee | Highlights
DB, 6-1, 185, Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
High School Coach: Ted Ginn, Sr.
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Jewell White, Assistant Dean, College of Business

High School: A two-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Third-team Northeast Lakes All-District selection in 2011 ... Played in Next Level Northeast Ohio All-Star Game ... Glenville won 2011 Cleveland city championship ... Member of 2009 team that played in the Division 1 state title game ... High school teammate of fellow Illini signee V'Angelo Bentley ... Also runs track at Glenville, winning a 2011 OHSAA State Championship in the 4x400m relay. Personal: The son of Estella and Arthur Hardee ... Born Feb. 7, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Akron, Bowling Green, Kansas, Marshall and Toledo, among others.

Jevaris Little | Highlights
DB, 6-1, 180, St. Petersburg, Fla. / Lakewood
High School Coach: Cory Moore
Intended Major: Criminal Justice
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Dr. Nicole Holtzclaw-Stone, Academic Advisor, Department of Sociology

High School: A three-star recruit by Rivals.com ... First-team Tampa Bay Times All-Pinellas County selection ... Honorable mention Tampa Bay Times All-Suncoast team ... Played in the Tampa Bay Times senior all-star game. Personal: Son of Val Bell ... Born Jan. 10, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Indiana, Kansas and Toledo, among others

Mason Monheim | Highlights
LB, 6-1, 215, Orrville, Ohio / Orrville
High School Coach: Doug Davault
Intended Major: Pre-Dental
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Jennifer Brandyberry, Academic Advisor, School of MCB

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 33 inside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com ... Two-time Division IV Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Associated Press Division IV first-team All-State ... 2011 Ohio Cardinal Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... Had 129 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2011 ... Set the area's single-season tackles record with 191 in 2010 ... Is Orrville's career leader tackles ... Playing in the Ohio/Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star Game ... High honor roll student with a 4.0 grade point average. Personal: The son of Jan and John Monheim... Born Dec. 16, 1992 ... Chose Illinois over Akron, Miami (OH) and Toledo, among others.

T.J. Neal | Highlights
LB, 6-1, 225, McKeesport, Pa. / McKeesport
High School Coach: Jim Ward
Intended Major: Undecided
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Carrie Mulvaney, Academic Advisor for Division of General Studies

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 24 inside linebacker in the nation and the No. 16 player in Pennsylvania by Scout.com ... Ranked the No. 16 prospect in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com and the No. 28 prospect in the state by SuperPrep ... Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class 4A All-State team in 2011 ... Also named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 team, the East Regional Fabulous 22 team and the All-Foothills Conference team at linebacker in 2011 ... Also played fullback, rushing for 190 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries (7.0 ypc) in 2011. Personal: First name is Tyrone ... The son of Mia Piri and Tyrone Neal ... Born Dec. 18, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Auburn, Florida, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others.

Teko Powell | Highlights
DT, 6-3, 290, Miami, Fla. / Norland
High School Coach: Daryle Heidelburg
Intended Major: Computer Science
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Annie White, Football Academic Counselor

High School: A three-star recruit by Rivals.com ... Named a first-team Florida Class 5A All-State selection in 2011 ... Helped Norland to the Class 5A state championship in Florida with a 15-0 record ... Had 107 tackles in 2011 ... Played in the Under Armour Dade vs. Broward All-Star Football Game in Florida and the Semper Fi All-America Game in Arizona. Personal: Guardian is Geneva McIntosh ... Born April 19, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Louisville, Washington State, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others.

Daniel Rhodes | Highlights
TE, 6-3, 250, Charlotte, N.C. / Independence
High School Coach: Bill Geiler
Intended Major: Communication
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Annie White, Football Academic Counselor

High School: Early enrollee is taking classes at Illinois this spring ... A two-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Played both tight end and offensive tackle in high school ... Named first-team All-State in 2010 ... Head 15 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end in 2010 ... Originally committed to Illinois for the 2011 season, but his enrollment was delayed to spring 2012. Personal: The son of Danny and Donteia Rhodes ... Born Nov. 12, 1992.

J.J. Robertson signing day photo J.J. Robertson | Highlights
WR, 6-1, 185, Mokena, Ill. / Lincoln-Way East
High School Coach: Rob Zvonar
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Jewell White, Assistant Dean, College of Business

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com ... Named to the 2012 SuperPrep Midwest team ... Named 2011 second-team All-State selection by the Chicago Tribune ... Recorded 39 receptions for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011 ... Had 23 receptions for 615 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010. Personal: The son of Lilly Chapman and Jason Robertson ... Oct. 12, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over Western Michigan and others.

Joe Spencer | Highlights
OL, 6-4, 270, Mason, Ohio / Mason
High School Coach: Bryan Castner
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Tim Flanagin, Academic Advisor, College of Business

High School: A three-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 14 center in the nation by ESPN ... Named to the Rivals.com Ohio Top 60 ... Named an Associated Press Division I second-team All-District selection in 2011 ... Earned first-team All-Greater Miami Conference honors in 2011 ... Playing in Ohio North/South Game and the Big 33 All-Star Game. Personal: The son of Kristen and Jeff Spencer ... Born June 13, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Cincinnati, North Carolina State and South Florida, among others.

Mike Svetina | Highlights
LB, 6-2, 220, Brunswick, Ohio / St. Ignatius
High School Coach: Chuck Kyle
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Jewell White, Assistant Dean, College of Business

High School: A three-star recruit by Rivals.com ... Led St. Ignatius to an OHSAA state title in 2011 ... Racked up 111 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions in 2011 ... Named the 2011 Cleveland Plain-Dealer Defensive Player of the Year ... Named the 2011 Ohio Division I Co-Defensive Player of the Year ... High school coach was Chuck Kyle. Personal: The son of Angela and Mike Svetina, and Susie Reardon ... Born Jan. 13, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Syracuse, Miami (OH) and Air Force, among others.

LaKeith Walls | Highlights
RB, 6-3, 185, Cleveland, Ohio / Rhodes
High School Coach: Phillip Gary
Intended Major: Education
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Dr. James Anderson, Head Professor, College of Education

High School: A three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Division I Special Mention All-State by the Associated Press ... Played in Next Level Northeast Ohio All-Star Game ... Also runs track at Rhodes. Personal: The son of Damion Johnson Sr., and Towanda Walls ... Born Dec. 1, 1993 ... Chose Illinois over North Carolina State, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, among others.

Vontrell Williams | Highlights
DL, 6-2, 275, Chicago, Ill. / Mt. Carmel
High School Coach: Frank Lenti
Intended Major: Business
Illinois Academic Recruiting Assistant: Jewell White, Assistant Dean, College of Business

High School: A three-star recruit by Rivals.com ... Named to the 2012 SuperPrep Midwest team ... Ranked the No. 20 defensive tackle in the nation by MaxPreps.com ... Ranked the No. 16 recruit in the state of Illinois in 2012 by Rivals.com ... Named to the Chicago Tribune All-State second team ... Registered 39 tackles and 15 sacks in 2011 ... Team won the 2011 Chicago Prep Bowl championship ... Played in 2010 Illinois Class 8A state championship game. Personal: Guardians are Jemal and Camille King ... Born July 15, 1994 ... Chose Illinois over Indiana, Kansas, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan, among others.

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