By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst
December 15, 2021
(Cover photo courtesy The Brunswick News)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The first and only scholarship offer for Georgia wide receiver Tyson Rooks was enough to sway the late-rising prospect to become part of Illinois’ 2022 recruiting class.
Rooks has parlayed one season of high school football into a signed National Letter-of-Intent with the University of Illinois.
Rooks played mostly at wide receiver this past fall for Glynn Academy but with his limited experience playing the game at all, the questions still arise at where he’ll end up on this Illini roster once he arrives on campus.
Rooks was named to The News’ Coastal Georgia All-Area Boys Basketball First Team following a junior season that saw him average 11.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He also starred as a junior on the track and field team by taking sixth place in high jump at the Class 6A state meet with a leap of 6-feet, 4-inches.
This is a pick-up with a high ceiling and a chance for little to no payoff based on Rooks’ limited experience with football. If Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters wants him in his backfield at free safety, Rooks could use a few years to develop behind Quan Martin and the trio of redshirt freshmen such as Joriell Washington, Prince Green and Kionte Curry.
At 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds, Rooks would also fit nicely in George McDonald’s room as a big target wide receiver with the necessary leaping ability and athleticism to track the football in the air.
Rooks selected Illinois over scholarship offers from Minnesota, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern and the Football Bowl Subdivision service academies (Army, Navy and Air Force).
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