Most Illinois fans became aware of Jehu Chesson while watching video highlights of his St. Louis Ladue quarterback Kortland Webb, who was being recruited by the Illini last year. He made a big impression, and he now has a scholarship offer.
Chesson talked about his visit.
"I had a good time. It was very nice. I liked it. After registration, we watched a highlight tape. And then they broke us into position groups. I went with the wide receiver coach. We talked about what Illinois does throwing-wise, how they use the receivers and what they teach."
Paul Petrino is the Illinois offensive coordinator, and he doubles as receiver coach. He gave receiver prospects a glimpse of his coaching style and offensive schemes.
"Coach Petrino seemed like a pretty nice guy. I like his theory about hard work and stuff like that. And the information he gave us was very useful. I feel like I can use that this coming season."
Chesson's day was just beginning. A tour was next on the agenda.
"We toured the facilities including the weight room, the equipment room and training room. And then we went to the basketball game. It was a pretty nice game. Illinois has a pretty good team. We got a lot accomplished."
The 6'-3", 175 pounder has attributes all receiver coaches love in their players.
"I'm big on hard work. I believe everyone can perform at what they are capable of performing if they work hard enough at it. At receiver you have to have God-given talent, but I feel I have both. So I think my work ethic is definitely good."
Many players rely solely on natural skills to make plays in games. But Chesson leaves nothing to chance.
"I feel my preparation before games is a strength. I like to learn everything possible. My route running could use a little bit better work. I feel I have good speed after the catch."
The St. Louisan was seen taking group photos with three 2012 Chicago stars at the basketball game. Offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and quarterback Robert Gregory from Simeon plus Hubbard defensive tackle Mikhail Dubose seemed to know Chesson well.
"We met down in San Antonio at the All-American combine."
Illinois is his first offer, but it won't be his last. He lists some of the other schools talking with him.
"In the past, I've been to Michigan, Miami, Iowa, Mizzou, and Illinois State."
Chesson has a strong interest in academics and will consider that aspect strongly when choosing a college.
"First is academics. I don't know what I want to major in yet, but academics will be a big factor as to where I want to go. And then the football team and the way I would fit into the offense. I'm not real big on what conference I go to. It's just academics and the offense."
He was pleased with how his Ladue Horton Watkins High School team did last season but hopes for better this fall.
"We did pretty well. We finished 11-2. We did not make state. We lost the game before that. We're working harder this year. We've had a lot of guys leave, but we have some kids who can fill those roles. We're looking forward to the season."
Webb was a great quarterback for them, but he will be graduating. Chesson says there is a quality replacement waiting in the wings.
"His name is Brandon Carr. He recently went to this top 100 quarterback thing in California. He has a lot to learn, but he's a pretty good quarterback I think."
Football isn't Chesson's only sport.
"I run track. I do the 300 hurdles and the 110 hurdles. I also do the 4 X 400, 4 X 200, and 4 X 100. That's about it. It keeps me pretty busy."
He has a full schedule, but he hopes to find time to check out schools this spring and summer.
"I hope to get to a couple spring practices at different schools. We haven't planned out my summer yet."