Rylie Mills: The Decision


Connor Clark

Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Boston College, Duke, Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and West Virginia. 28 Division I offers. 4 star recruit. All conference and area team. Number 2 player in the state of Illinois. In the top 150 in ESPN’s recruiting ranks for 2020. Lake Forest’s very own, Rylie Mills.

High schools in the Midwest don’t come across football talent such as this that often. Over the past decade, former Scouts such as Tommy Rees, Notre Dame quarterback, Jack Trainor, Dartmouth linebacker, and John Deering, University of Chicago linebacker, and many more have left the Scouts’ program with their careers not having ended in the last game of their senior year. Rylie Mills will continue that legacy when he decides where he will continue his academic and athletic career sometime in May or June. The 4 star recruit has caught headlines all over the state of Illinois and is possibly the best football player ever to walk the halls of Lake Forest High School.

Now, being recruited by 28 different teams throughout your high school career can be very hectic but amazing as well. “The recruiting process has been going really well so far. I’ve had a good time talking to coaches and hearing what role they want me to play in their programs,” Mills stated about the recruiting process. If you are on social media even the slightest bit, chances are you have seen the pictures with coaches such as Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban or Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly, and players such as current Bears linebacker Roquan Smith at Georgia. Despite all of these amazing visits and offers Rylie has received, he is not the first Mills brother to be recruited to play college football. Rylie’s older brother, Jaxon, was recruited throughout high school and ended up committing to play football at University of Dayton. I asked Rylie if his brothers recruiting gave him a sample of what recruiting is like and said, “I think it was all pretty brand new. I talked with my brother more about why he made his choice and what he looked for. But in terms or visits, camps, and meeting with the coaches it was all new to me.”

Every Friday night when the stands get packed under the lights at Varsity Field at West Campus, Rylie and the Scouts are coming ready to play, but not without feeling some sort of pressure. “There’s a little pressure going into it, but it’s mostly my own because I want to be great and I put a lot of expectations on myself. But usually once I’m in the game it’s just easy to play,” Mills said. With all of the eyes of his classmates, coaches, parents, friends, and scouts, there is a lot of pressure, but Rylie is determined to just go out and have fun playing the game he loves.

The 6-5 270 pound defensive end is impossible to miss in the halls of Lake Forest High School as you can see the blonde hair that sits atop his head from what seems like 100 feet away. He says hi to everyone in the halls and goes out of his way to ask people how they are doing, just an all around great person who is adored by many, not only in the Lake Forest community, but in his hometown of Lake Bluff as well. “The community has been super helpful. It’s really cool hearing about people in the town and their college experiences and why they liked where they went. Everybody has been super supportive,” Mills mentioned. Having a community rally around you is really something special, and this is really a special moment for everybody.

Rylie is set to choose his location to further his academic and athletic career over the next four years of his life after high school sometime in May or June. There are 28 schools from which to choose, and there is no wrong decision. It is all about what is the right fit and what school gives Rylie the best opportunity to succeed. The Scouts’ community is behind Rylie Mills every step of the way. Whichever university that gets Rylie, they are getting a special football player and person. As for the Lake Forest Scouts, his legacy will live on throughout the football program for years to come.