Joseph Spencer committed to Illinois back in July, but following the departure of Ron Zook and most of his staff, he took a step back to collect his thoughts and evaluate the situation at Illinois. Once new head coach Tim Beckman was hired, he wasted no time reaching out to a number of commits, including the Ohio native Spencer.
"I think he called me within the first day. He called me a couple times. I missed him the first time since I was at a basketball game. We talked about what he was going to bring into the program."
Spencer had previously visited Toledo, and he briefly met Beckman, but he didn't get to speak to him as much as he did this week.
"I didn't know him too well beforehand. I went to Toledo for a junior day awhile back but didn't get to know him that well."
Now that Spencer has spoken to the new coach, he has a better feel for what Beckman's philosophy is and the type of coach that Beckman is.
"I definitely like his personality. He's a high energy coach. It's a lot like my high school coach. He's a young guy in terms of head coaching. Playing 60 minutes and playing together as a team and a family is big."
Spencer values having a coach that is there for his players beyond the football field. One thing Beckman did at Toledo that drew attention was move into the dorms with his players upon his arrival. Things like that are what stand out to Spencer.
"He made a big push about holding his guys accountable, which is big in football in general and in the NCAA. Knowing he'll be there for and with his players is important. He's always in the halls and with the guys or popping in during class or study hall. That's a positive. He's more than a coach because you see him outside of just football."
After being a little unsure of his commitment during the transition, speaking to Beckman put a lot of his doubts to rest. He's ready to get to Illinois.
"Yeah, it definitely calmed me down. It relieved some of the stress. Talking to coach Beck and hearing where he's coming from, I feel a lot better about it. All I'm waiting on now is seeing who the offensive line coach is. I feel like he'll hire a great guy though."
Spencer has seen the Illinois campus before, and it was one of the main reasons he chose Illinois. He is hoping to make a couple visits back to the school to see how Illinois is when school is in full swing.
"I think the plan now is to try to do an unofficial early in January once the staff is settled in. My official is scheduled for January 22nd when all the students will be back from break so I can go see class and get the full experience."