Camp Rantoul's unsung hero

Published 08/15 2013 07:29PM

Updated 08/19 2013 03:45PM

RANTOUL -- As the Illini practice at Camp Rantoul this week, we've seen some stand-out athletes. But off the field, players say there's one guy who stands out to them. WCIA-3's Jillian Deam has more on the man who helps make camp possible.

Before the stretching, before the drills, and long before there's any glory on the fields at Camp Rantoul, there's a man behind it all who doesn't get to bask in much glory himself. But Trent Chesnut doesn't mind one bit.

"You always get excited, because it's a new year."

A new year for the football players, but it's another year at camp for Trent, the team's Equipment Manager.

"13 out of the 14 years I've been to Camp Rantoul."

That's why he has the extensive set-up down to a science.

"We practice at home for the week, and then we come here and move everything in a day. Within the 48-hour period it is just go, go, go. Sideline markers, end zone pylons, chain sets for distance, all the pads, agile step overs, cones, dots. They have 2 goal posts built, so we have to have to bring two portables up, which means we have to break it down from our field."

From all this equipment, to the jerseys on all 105 players at this camp, Trent is focused on the details, so that these players can focus on the field.

"We have to do laundry back and forth, we have to take all the player laundry: towels, jerseys, pants, coaches gear, you name it, all that stuff gets laundered back in Champaign."

It's all for the players, but Trent doesn't expect all the players to understand at first.

"When they first come in as rookies, they probably don't appreciate it as much. but once they grow, you get to be like Corey Lewis, who's been here for six years, those guys understand."

They love him to death, and everything he does for them. A love that's mutual, all for a shared love of the game.

Trent is also responsible for making sure the guys are up bright and early for practice this week. The last day for fans to go and watch the Illini at Camp Rantoul is August 16.    

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