As mentors go, Blake Hoerr figures he couldn't possibly have done better than his wrestling coach and crop sciences professor.
"I grew and changed so much in my time at the U of I," says the New York Jets' director of fields and grounds, a member of the UI Class of 2001.
"I transferred there in order to wrestle for Mark Johnson. I instantly found a home and friends with the other guys on the team, but this was just the start of who I was to become.
"I always saw myself as a wrestler, but through the guidance and friendship of Dr. Henry Wilkinson, I found a passion and career. He saw something in me I had not yet seen in myself.
"Wrestling gave me a foundation. The hard work, the late nights cutting weight, the competitive teammates all helped in the development of who I am today. All these were part of a time I look back on fondly.
"The wrestling room was important and it seems a lifetime ago, but what I took out of the room in Huff Hall drives me to this day."