November 9, 2006

Benn goes his own way

Rumors have been swirling that Washington (D.C.) Dunbar wide receiver Arrelious Benn was going to shock the recruiting world and commit to Illinois over offers from home state Maryland and out-of-state powers Notre Dame and Florida State. On Thursday evening, Benn proved those rumors to be true.

"It's Illinois for a lot of reasons," the 6-foot-1, 210-pound wide receiver said early Thursday morning. "I just felt comfortable with coach Locks (Mike Locksley) and Ron Zook. I think it's a team on the rise and with coach Locksley as the offensive coordinator I know I'll get the ball a lot."

Benn had long listed Notre Dame as his leader until his visit to Illinois.

"That changed things a bit," he said. "Illinois made me think that there might be another place I'd be happy so I wanted to take a few more official visits and wait things out. After comparing all the schools, it was close but it came down to Illinois and Florida State and I felt better about Illinois."

Benn has heard all the whispers and read all the negatives about Illinois.

"It's funny how a lot of people think they know where I will be happy playing," said the nation's No. 2 wideout. "People say that they're 2-7 and they won't play on television and I won't make it to the NFL there, all that stuff. But Derrick Williams went to Penn State when they weren't good and did well when he had a good quarterback. In Juice Juice Williams I'll have a good quarterback for a long time."

Does Benn realize what a recruiting stunner his choice is?

"I know it will shock a lot of people and they'll question why I did it," he said. "But I feel comfortable there, I have a trust in the coaches and I think the team is a few playmakers away from being a contender in the Big Ten. And the pros, they'll find you no matter where you are if you're good enough. I'm glad the process is over, I didn't like it that much and saw some of the ugly side of it. I'm happy with my decision."

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