City is known for basketball players.

 

Peoria is known for its high school basketball. Everyone gets that. Yet this fall, college recruiters have kept an eye on the Peoria metro area. "Now we've got some football players,'' said Washington's Isaac Fisher, a talented quarterback and defensive back.

A senior who started varsity as a freshman and took over at quarterback early in his sophomore year, Fisher doesn't have a major-college offer, but he's on the radar. Among other stops, he attended the one-day Illinois football camp in New Lenox last summer and accepted an invitation to visit Camp Rantoul in late August.

He will head to Memorial Stadium when No. 24 Illinois (4-0) hosts Northwestern (2-1) in the Big Ten Conference opener for both schools Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN2). Fisher won't be the only Peoria-area prep star at the game. Richwoods junior running back Kendrick Foster and senior wide receiver Clayton Glasper will also attend the game on invitation from the Illini.

Dunlap senior linebacker-tight end Nick Mangieri already gave a verbal commitment to Indiana. Peoria Central junior defensive end/tight end Josh Augusta also has attracted attention from college recruiters, and his size (6-5, 277 pounds) and athleticism could make him marketable to high-major recruiters.

With 899 yards rushing, Foster is on pace to rewrite the Peoria city career rushing record book. He's already scored 12 touchdowns this season -- 10 of them while rushing. Like Foster, Glasper is a speedster.

"You know how the (college) coaches like those stopwatches,'' said Richwoods coach Roland Brown. Illini recruiter Mike Gillhamer made a swing through Peoria Friday.

Although Chicago-based recruiting analyst "Edgy'' Tim O'Halloran said size might hold him back, Foster has time on his side. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Foster gained interest from Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State from the Big Ten, plus Notre Dame, UCLA and Cincinnati, Brown said. Thus far, Foster's only offer came from Illinois State.

"The longer it goes, the more he'll get,'' Brown said.

Foster turned heads with his speed at the one-day Illinois camp. He also attended single-day camps at Notre Dame and Northwestern and hit combines held by Nike and Under Armour. As a junior, he has time to attract attention from big-time programs.

For Fisher and Glasper, the clock is ticking to land a scholarship offer from a major-college program. Fisher's lone offer is from McKendree. Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Illinois State and Indiana State are also showing interest in Fisher, who has 1,078 yards passing with 10 TDs and three interceptions but isn't locked into playing quarterback in college.

Glasper finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles at the Class 2A state track finals last May. He also attended the camps at Illinois, Notre Dame and Northwestern. For a senior with no major-college offers this late in the season, it's hard to figure it out.

"You don't know where you stand on the priority list,'' O'Halloran said.

Illinois hasn't had a letterwinner from a Peoria metro school since Carlos Lattimore of Peoria Central from 1999 to 2001.

FOOTBALL: Illinois senior placekicker Derek Dimke and freshman running back Donovonn Young earned weekly Big Ten Conference honors following the 23-20 win over Western Michigan Saturday.

Dimke, a Rockford Boylan graduate, kicked the 21-yard game-winning field goal with 8 minutes 14 seconds, converted on his two other field-goal attempts from 39 and 35 yards and made both extra-point kicks to earn special teams player of the week. He's the school field-goal percentage leader at 87.5 percent and hasn't missed an extra point in 70 tries in his career.

Named the Big Ten's freshman of the week, Young rushed for a career-high 100 yards and scored a touchdown. His 59-yard run was Young's longest this season.

On Oct. 8, Illinois plays at Indiana in a 1:30 p.m. game with broadcast on BTN.

VOLLEYBALL: For the first time in school history, Illinois is ranked No. 1 in the national coaches poll. One of just three undefeated teams, Illinois (13-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten) moved up two spots after victories over then-No. 9 Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Illinois received 55 of possible 60 first-place votes. The Big Ten has seven teams in the top 25. A ticket stub from the Illinois-Northwestern football game gets free admission to Illinois vs. No. 12 Purdue in a key Big Ten volleyball match Saturday (7 p.m.) at Huff Hall. The Illini also host Indiana Friday.

The Illini had never been ranked higher than the No. 2 spot in the preseason poll in 1988.

"We appreciate the recognition,'' said Illinois coach Kevin Hambly. "However, our focus is on being there at the end of the season. The Big Ten is loaded with great teams, and we want to continue the process of getting better each week.''

  John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.