With experience on both sides of the ball, Chris Bement insists he is “a football player first.”
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Illinois State likes the Dwight High School player as a tight end, and Bement has committed to sign a national letter of intent with the Redbirds on Dec. 19.
“I love the coaches and love the players,” Bement said. “I feel like it was a good fit.”
Bement attends Gardner-South Wilmington High School, which has a coop with Dwight for football.
Bement chose ISU over scholarship offers from Western Illinois, Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Eastern Michigan.
Dwight finished 6-4 and qualified for the Class 3A playoffs this past season as Bement caught 19 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Bement, who also plays defensive line for the Trojans, switched from offensive line to tight end for his junior season.
“I have strong hands. If the ball is going to hit me in the hands I’m going to catch it,” he said. “After the catch, I’m tough to bring down, but high school and college are different.
"I love to hit and I can take hits. I need to get better at route running and get a little stronger.”
Bement was impressed with Redbird strength and conditioning coach Jim Lathrop on his visit.
“The way he talks, I could tell he knows what he’s talking about,” said Bement. “I feel like he’s able to help me improve as a player. That’s ultimately the goal.”