Pat Farrell finally made the decision he’d wanted to make for a long time.
The St. Rita junior had thought about committing to play college football at Illinois for a while but took his time with the recruiting process to make sure he made the right choice.
After taking an official visit to Champaign on Friday, Farrell knew Illinois was where he wanted to go and announced his commitment on Sunday.
“I’m pumped up,” Farrell said. “I feel like the in-state kids should stay in-state. I feel like this class is going to be great and there are big things coming in the next few weeks.”
Illinois became Farrell’s favorite since the school offered him a scholarship in mid-February. The edge rusher prospect had 20 offers from different schools mostly in the Mid-American Conference and FCS level like Northern Illinois, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan, but Illinois was his lone Power-Five offer.
The Illini coaches made sure to make Farrell a priority and he liked the relationships he built with the staff. Farrell said he enjoyed how straightforward the coaches were on his official visit and enjoyed how connected he felt to head coach Brett Bielema and outside linebackers coach Kevin Kane.
Farrell had talked with coaches from other Big Ten schools like Purdue and Rutgers who hadn’t offered but they were concerned about the 40 pounds of muscle he had gained over the offseason and wanted to see how he played at a camp this summer.
But Farrell knew he didn’t want to wait any longer and committed to the team he felt closest to.
“Illinois has believed in me from the start,” Farrell said. “I had to go with my gut and felt like it was the place to be.”
247Sports Composite ranks Farrell as a three-star prospect, the 24th-best in Illinois.
St. Rita coach Todd Kuska has known Farrell for much of his life and made sure Farrell waited to make his decision. The coach was impressed with how well Illinois recruited Farrell and made him a priority.
Now Kuska wants Farrell to use the weight he gained this summer to improve on his technique. Farrell now weighs 240 pounds and Kuska wants him to use his 6-foot-5 frame and good hands to learn how to work through large offensive linemen that he’ll see in Big Ten play.
“He’s going to do well,” Kuska said. “His game is only on the rise.”
Farrell is excited to be done with his recruitment process so he can focus on his senior season at St. Rita. The junior has a goal of winning a state title — the championship game will be played in Memorial Stadium this November, where Illinois plays.
“It’s great,” Farrell said. “Now I’m just able to focus on what the team needs. I feel like this past offseason it’s been focused a lot on me, and now I can just focus on helping out my team a lot.”