Enoch Smith Jr. participated in a recent Illinois summer camp at his high school Chicago Mt. Carmel. Smith was rewarded for his play with an Illini offer despite being a 2014 prospect.
"They told me I'll be hearing from them in the future. They've got me and they want me."
The UI offer wasn't his first.
"Right now I have four offers, one from Northern Illinois, one from Eastern Michigan, University of Illinois and Georgia Tech. Other schools in touch with me are Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and some MAC teams."
Smith is already familiar with the Illini.
"It's a great program. The Big 10 is one of my favorite conferences. I came down to a couple of games last year, and I loved it."
Does the fact many Mt. Carmel alums have played football at Illinois influence him?
"Yes. One of my teammates recently committed to the University of Illinois. Vontrell Williams will be coming down to play defensive line this fall.
"He told me, as soon as Illinois gives me that scholarship, I'll have to sign on the dotted line. We'll have to see where it goes from here."
Illinois certainly fits the criteria he seeks in his college choice.
"I'm looking for a college that's got a great Engineering program. I want to major in either Mechanical or Architectural Engineering. I know Illinois has a great Engineering program.
"And I'm looking for a college where I can come in and get some early playing time. I know there are things I've still got to learn, but I'd like to help my college team as much as I can."
The 6'-3", 256 pounder, who ran an impressive 4.96 forty, learned more about his abilities during his one-day Illini camp last week.
"Obviously my power and my quickness (are strengths). But then a weakness that I see that I need to work on is my quickness with my hands."
Mt. Carmel did well last fall, but the Caravan have extremely high standards.
"We did pretty good. We went 6-3 in the regular season. We lost in the second round of the playoffs to Bolingbrook. They went on to win the state championship. We went on to win the Prep Bowl at the end of the season."
Bolingbrook's star is quarterback Aaron Bailey, who has committed to Illinois for the 2013 class. Smith got a first-hand view and describes Bailey's abilities.
"He has great speed and quickness. He is an elusive player; his hips are amazing. It's difficult trying to stop him. Obviously, at the next level he will be a force to be reckoned with."
It appears Smith will have a similar reputation as he continues to grow and develop. In the meantime, he hopes to lead his high school to a great 2012 season.
"This year, I believe we should go undefeated and come down to Champaign to win the state championship and dominate."