Gonzaga RB Reggie Corbin commits to Illinois


Gonzaga running back Reggie Corbin (right) committed to play football at Illinois on Tuesday (Doug Kapustin/The Washington Post).

For the past month, Reggie Corbin has watched as his fellow Gonzaga junior teammates made their commitments to play college football, from offensive lineman Richie Petitbon pledging to Alabama to quarterback Nick Johns committing to Virginia.

Tuesday marked Corbin’s turn to make his college choice, as he told Illinois recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Alex Golesh during a visit to the D.C. area that he wanted to play for the Fighting Illini.

“Illinois felt like a second home, and I loved the coaches, the offense and where the direction the program is headed in,” Corbin said during a Tuesday phone interview. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

Illinois made its interest in Corbin known early, extending the 5-foot-9, 191-pounder his first offer in February, which was followed by offers from Marshall, Old Dominion, Toledo and Washington State as well as interest from Duke, Rutgers and Maryland.

Corbin made an unofficial visit to the Champaign-based campus on March 9, his birthday, and immediately took a liking to the team and school. In April, Corbin said he made up his mind that he wanted to play at Illinois, news that he shared with his father about two weeks ago, setting in motion his Tuesday commitment, when he told Golesh and called head coach Tim Beckman.

“They were all really excited,” Corbin said. “They’ve emphasized that I can be a key part in the offense and make an impact in the rushing game and as a receiving option in the spread offense. I just want to come in and make plays and be an impact player in any way that I can be.”

Corbin’s versatility and athleticism were on display this past fall, when he rushed for 1,103 yards and and 12 touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 177 yards for Gonzaga. With strength, elusive ability in open space and sound vision in the trenches and the flats, Corbin can impact the game in several ways as a playmaker.

With his college commitment out of the way, Corbin now turns his focus toward helping Gonzaga turn its wealth of talent into a WCAC championship under new coach Randy Trivers, who was hired last week to replace Aaron Brady. Corbin said he talked with Trivers by phone and was excited for the chance to play under him.

“I’m definitely ready to work and adjust to our new coach and system, which could take some time, but we’re ready to buy in,” Corbin said. “That’s what we talked about mostly, just buying into his system and having an open mind. We’re hoping to make next season a special one.”

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Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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