Yorkville's Josh Beetham (8) sets up to pass during football game action between Oswego East at Yorkville. Oct 3. Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media.
Yorkville's Josh Beetham (8) sets up to pass during football game action between Oswego East at Yorkville. Oct 3. Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media. — Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media

Josh Beetham is, in his words, betting on himself.

Beetham, Yorkville's senior quarterback, held offers from multiple schools across different levels of college football. Others may have come up had he prolonged his recruiting process.

Instead, Beetham made his decision on Tuesday, committing to Illinois as a preferred walk-on.

"There is a chance that I will never see the field at Illinois, but I want to bet on myself to go in there, work as hard as I can, it's something that may never work out but I want to know that I at least tried something I dreamed of doing."

Beetham, a two-year varsity starter at Yorkville, threw for 1,463 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior in leading the Foxes to an 8-3 record and second round of the Class 7A playoffs.

He held Division II offers from Concordia-St. Paul, Quincy and Hillsdale, NAIA with Culver-Stockton and Missouri Baptist and a Division I FCS offer from Valparaiso.

He was offered the PWO spot by Illinois assistant coach Bob Ligashesky on a visit to Yorkville in December and made his official visit this past weekend.

"My dream has always been to play at the highest level I can; playing in the Big Ten is something that I've dreamed about since I was a kid," Beetham said. "When the opportunity came around to be a preferred walk-on at Illinois it was something that I felt was the right thing for me. It's a great opportunity to work my butt off. I had been talking to other Big Ten schools about being a preferred walk-on. When Illinois was the one to give me a chance it felt good."

Illinois was drawn to Beetham's 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, and also his potential. He'll be one of five quarterbacks in the room in Champaign.

"There are obviously no promises, you never know what will happen, no one is guaranteed anything," Beetham said. "I know I still have a lot of potential. I don't think I've reached my max yet."

Beetham, who plans to study sports management, said his decision went beyond his playing days.

"A big draw was their coaching staff," Beetham said. "My plan is to get into the coaching world after I'm done playing and having those connections through [Illinois coach] Lovie Smith will help me. That along with the education is very important to me."

Recruiting roundup

Oswego East defensive back Mark Baron announced his commitment to Augustana...Oswego East sophomore linebacker on Tuesday received his first Division I offer, from Kent State...Oswego junior offensive tackle Otto Hess received an offer from Central Michigan...Yorkville offensive lineman Robbie Isaacs announced his commitment to Grand View University...Yorkville running back Tre Thomas committed to Upper Iowa.