Manteno lineman Josh Gesky commits to Illinois

Josh Gesky committed to Illinois on Sunday. He’s the Illini’s third in-state recruit in the Class of 2021, joining two more offensive linemen.

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Josh Gesky wasn’t pushed to play football by his dad Joel, who won two letters as an offensive lineman at Nebraska in the early 1990s.

In fact, it was the opposite.

Following his father’s guidance, the younger Gesky didn’t really get into the sport till his freshman year at Manteno. Now, though, he’s a three-star offensive line prospect and a Big Ten recruit.

Gesky announced Sunday on Twitter he’s committed to Illinois. He’s the Illini’s third in-state recruit in the Class of 2021, joining two more offensive linemen: Loyola’s Josh Kreutz and Plainfield East’s Zack Barlev, who decommitted from Bowling Green.

Gesky’s path to follow his dad into Division I football started his eighth-grade year when he focused on weightlifting and conditioning.

He’s grown into a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder whose other offers included Kansas, Syracuse and three Ivy League schools: Columbia, Dartmouth and Penn.

Why Illinois?

“I’d say the thing that stood out most is it’s closer to home, but it’s still far enough away to have the college experience,” Gesky said.

Other positives for Gesky are the chance to play for former Bears coach Lovie Smith and to join a program on the rise. The Illini ended a five-year postseason drought last season when they lost 35-20 to Cal in the Redbox Bowl.

“I like that they’re on the way up and not on the way down,” Gesky said.

With Illinois prep football pushed to next spring, Gesky is pondering his next move.

“I’m actually thinking about graduating early,” he said. “I may be able to go to their spring camp and start at Illinois then. That’s something I’m just considering right now.”

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