GIBSON CITY (WCIA) — Aidan Laughery got an early morning call from longtime Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley football coach Mike Allen on Tuesday. The 5-foot-10, 180 pound running back wasn’t even awake yet, but quickly collected himself once Allen told him he needed to call Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith.
Good news was on the way, with Smith extending the Falcons incoming junior standout a scholarship offer. Laughery ran for 1,279 yards as a sophomore to go along with 22 touchdowns.
“I didn’t know what to say, I was just like, ‘Thank you, I appreciate that so much,'” Laughery said. “I kind of started shaking and stuff.”
It’s the second offer for Laughery, who first heard from Washington State last month. But getting an opportunity to play for the Illini, the team he has grown up watching, meant a little bit more.
“It’s crazy to get an offer, especially living in their backyard, the hometown team, it’s really cool to get that offer,” Laughery said. “It’s just crazy that I have an offer to be a part of that and the chance to go play there.”
Laughery could play running back, slot receiver or be a factor in the return game on special teams for the Illini. He’s also hearing from Michigan and Illinois State right now but is looking forward to letting the recruiting process play out, to see what other offers he can get.
As a freshman, Laughery ran four events at the IHSA state track and field meet, finishing seventh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.07 seconds. His fastest mark in the event so far is 10.7, which would have won the Class 1A championship in 2019.