Tanner Farmer

Tanner Farmer grew up near Highland, Illinois.

Hometown: Highland, Illinois.

Area code: 618.

Year/position: Senior center.

Of note: The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Farmer started the season at right guard before moving to center for the Northwestern game. He has appeared in 28 games, including 27 starts.

To represent the 618 … "It means a lot to me. A lot of people don't know about my area, especially from around here. I'm from southern Illinois, so being able to see that, being able to look it up and see where I'm from and to represent my hometown, that's nice. That's the area that molded me into the man that I am today."

I'm actually from Alhambra (north of Highland). "That has about 100, 200 people in it. I've always grown up in the country, out near my grandfather's farm, so I had two neighbors. I'm not used to action towns at all. There are about 9,000 people in Highland."

Lincoln feels like home. "One of the things that I liked about Lincoln is you have the advantages of the city, but it feels like a small town. A lot of neighborhoods around here remind me of Highland, just how the houses are set up. I really like it because, honestly, really big cities kind of make me claustrophobic."

I was a two-time state wrestling champion. "I also did track. I was a thrower. I was able to set a record at my high school for shot put, my senior year, but I couldn't finish the season because I was having elbow issues."

Notable high school football memory. "Probably when I got moved up to varsity my freshman year and that hadn't happened in a real long time. The team was struggling at the time on the offensive line and they brought me up and I was able to do some pretty good things for them. To have that kind of trust in me at that young of an age is something special. (I) played right tackle and moved to left tackle sophomore year."

Rise up for breakfast in Highland. "For breakfast, I would say (go to) 9th Street Cafe. I used to always love it. The pecan pancakes, the bacon and sausage and smothered hash browns."

Growing up in the country with Rocky and later Zeus. "We always had rottweilers. My dad trained it to follow me everywhere I went, so when I was really little, if I ran too close to the road, the rottweiler would grab me by my (overall) bibs and he would drag me back to the house. It always made sure I stayed in yard. I can't remember it, it was so long (ago). My dad would tell me I'd just be giggling. He was my dog. I used to ride him when I was little."

My brother is about 7½ years older than me. "He was there a lot to watch me, but the dog could watch me a lot."

The orange life growing up. "My dad actually grew up in Champaign a large part of his life, and he said that he remembered selling hot dogs in their stadium while the games were played. My grandfather got his bachelor's and master's (degrees) there, so we were huge Illinois fans."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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