CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Danville natives Caleb Griffin and Julian Pearl are two of 40 players from Illinois on the Illini football roster. After redshirting their freshman seasons, both are ready to see the field in the fall.
For the first time in his athletic career, Caleb Griffin is dedicating himself to just one sport. He was a four-sport athlete in high school, he even had to split his fall season between football and soccer.
“It was tough, I never had any off days. I’d end one season and start the next, but it was fun, I don’t regret it at all,” Griffin said.
For him, football isn’t the sport he was planning to pursue in college, and it actually took a little bit of convicing from offensive lineman Julian Pearl. The two have been playing together since freshman year at Danville High school.
“When I was getting recruited, he was always messing with me like ‘Come on we can be teammates again.’ And I thought about it for a while, and then realized this was the best option for me,” Griffin said.
While it’s not what Griffin initially expected, the same goes for Juilian Pearl. He started the fall season as a defensive end, but joins the offense for spring ball.
“It’s definetly not easy, but I’m working everyday trying to get better,” Pearl said. “I feel like I have potential to do more at offensive tackle than I did at defensive end for the team. I just have to keep progressing to help the team out there.”
But the two Danville standouts didn’t see much of the field last fall. They both redshirted their freshman season, with more experienced players making the cut.
“I mean I came into work, I came into compete, but we all knew Chase was going to be the guy,” Griffin said. “But you come here in the spring and it’s your time now, like you got to go get it. I’ve just been pushing myself trying to get better each and every day.”
“Get on my field is the motivation you know, just find my purpose on the field, no more watching on the sidelines,” Pearl said.
While the former Vikings had different paths to becoming Illini, they’re goal is the same. And that’s to make it on the field this fall.