Illinois verbally offers Atmore’s Tyler Nero

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

Escambia County Blue Devil Tyler Nero received a verbal offer from the University of Illinois on Thursday afternoon.|File Photo

With National Signing Day completed on Feb. 1, collegiate football programs are once again on the recruiting trail analyzing and giving offers to the juniors that will make up the Class of 2012.

For one Escambia County Blue Devil, the offers are slowly coming in as he has received two verbal offers.

Tyler Nero, a junior defensive lineman for ECHS, has currently received two verbal offers with one coming from the up and coming University of South Alabama and the most recent coming on Thursday afternoon from the University of Illinois.

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Nero received his offer on Thursday from the Fighting Illini’s defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.

“I talked with coach Koenning and he told me that they were really looking forward to meeting me,” Nero said. “They want me to come visit their university and also want to watch some film with me. He said he was really impressed with what he has seen of me. I also spoke to a coach from South Alabama and he was also impressed with me. They want me to come visit their school and feel at home.”

To earn the offer from a Big 10 school that ended its season with a 38-14 win over Baylor University in the Texas Bowl is a step up for Nero.

He said receiving offers is a proud moment for him because it shows that he has been successful.

“I feel like I’ve taken a big step in my level of success to be receiving offers,” Nero said. Illinois is in the Big 10, so I know that the work that I have put in is paying off if a BCS conference is interested in me. I know the season that I had is pretty much determines what I get in terms of offers.”

Nero’s head coach Mark Heaton is also excited that his offers are coming in because of the exposure Nero and other players will get.

Heaton said that when a prospect like Nero is looked at it opens the doors for players teams might not know about.

“Tyler’s starting to get big offers,” he said. “They are going to begin rolling in very soon and we have a lot of film out on him. It really helps because we are trying to push him and several other kids that we feel could play at the next level.”

Getting word out about Nero and prospective college athletes is becoming easier for high school coaches with the use of Web sites such as YouTube and recruiting networks like and

Heaton said the way recruiters find out about prospects is through films and other coaches.

“There’s a lot of film and video out on Web sites,” he said. “I’ve sent out 30 or 40 films Tyler and our other other kids to get word out. It’s also big to speak with people through the network of coaches.”

The overall goal for Heaton is help get his players they exposure they deserve after a successful season.

He said he wants to be able to hold events where his players have the opportunity to reveal where they will play college football.

“It’s huge,” Heaton said. “We want to be able hold a signing day here next year and have four or five guys sign with a school. We want to do it to give these kids something like that to look forward to and put more pride back in this program.”