(WCIA) — In a matter of hours Zachary Barlev de-committed from Bowling Green State, and committed to Illinois. The 3-star offensive lineman made his verbal pledge to the Illini on Friday, and says that’s where he initially wanted to go. It was a conversation with Lovie Smith that really stuck for him.
“When he pulled me aside, he said the best thing I’ve ever heard,” says Barlev. “He asked me how many offers I had. I said zero at the time. And he said ‘Why is that?’. I was like ‘I don’t know, I’m not big enough I think.’ He said, no, all those other colleges are dumb. We’re the only one that’s best for you.'”
Since then, Barlev knew Illinois was the place for him, but after suffering a hip injury during wrestling season, he wasn’t able to commit. That’s why he chose Bowling Green State when they offered. But after the Illini cleared his MRI, the Illinois native he made the decision to flip over to the Orange and Blue.
“It feels a lot better, cause I’m staying in my hometown basically, only an hour away from where I live, it’s actually a big accomplishment to be at the school of our state,” says Barlev. “I work hard everyday, on the field, off the field, to be the best person I can be.”
Watch his full interview with WCIA 3’s Marlee Wierda in the web-extra video above.