"They asked me if I had a Big Ten offer and I said no," the 2015 quarterback from Lexington Catholic (Kentucky) said. "Then they said, 'well you do now.'"
The offer surprised Reese, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound rising junior. The initial shock turned to appreciation.
"That was a really great feeling," he said. "That was such an awesome thing to hear. I'm just honored to get an offer from such a great program."
Reese wowed the Illini staff with his arm all day, especially showing off in one-on-one drills by constantly connecting with wideouts going up against defensive backs.
"I thought I had a great day," Ryan said. "I really kept my feet under control, had accurate throws and I was throwing my inside routes really well. The coaches really liked it."
Illinois' offensive coordinator Bill Cubit kept a close watch on Ryan. When Ryan's mechanics were the least bit off, Cubit pulled him aside to make corrections.
"He was really teaching me. He wanted me to keep working on getting my body closed," Ryan said. "He told me I had a lot of zip on my throws. He was just telling me that he really liked me the whole day."
Now that Illinois has expressed high interest, Ryan said the feeling is mutual. The Bluegrass State native admitted he didn't know much about the school, nor did he root for Illinois growing up. But he said he wants to learn as much as possible.
"I love this campus," he said. "Coach Beckman said they have really good academics so I can't wait to get a feel for the program."
The offer is Ryan's second after Louisville offered two weekends ago.
"Things are starting to click," he said of his recruitment. "It's a big shock right now but I'm starting to get a feel for it and get settled. I'm keeping my head straight."
Ryan said he plans to visit Vanderbilt July 8 and Kentucky "sometime after that."
Stay tuned to Ryan's recruitment, as always, on Fox Sports Next....