Despite the difficulties of recruiting without a certain future, the Illinois coaching staff is still making progress on the recruiting trail. Though they have only landed one commitment since Beckman's dismissal, a host of quality visitors traveled to Champaign on Saturday to watch Illinois' dramatic victory over Nebraska.
One prospect who landed an offer while on campus was 2016 Euclid (OH) cornerback Anthony Johnson. Johnson, who also holds offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Akron, and Bowling Green, said he had a feeling that Illinois may also join the mix with an offer when he came to campus.
"I wasn't quite sure (about the offer) but I had a feeling," Johnson said. "I've been talking with Illinois for some time now, but never went on a visit until Saturday. It was really great. It felt like home and the atmoshpere was crazy, which I absolutely loved. It's truly a college town."
Johnson undoubtedly enjoyed his visit, but he has a high opinion of the Illinois program and the culture of community the coaches and players have.
"For one I love how they're winning right now," he said. "They're 4-1 and on a roll. Those guys really love each other as brothers, and I see it. It's one big family."
But Johnson was even more impressed with how the players and coaches have treated him so far throughout his recruitment.
"Another thing I loveis how the coaches and players embrace me," Johnson said. "They were really cool and just fun to talk with. They didn't act like they were something that they aren't. The coaches were really frank as well. They were straight up and up front with me about how much they like my game and what I bring to the table."
Johnson came into his visit familiar with Cleveland-area natives and current Illini Justin Hardee and V'Angelo Bentley. Being able to catch up with the Cleveland duo during the visit was something he enjoyed.
"I talked with Justin before the game," he said. "He explained to me how great the campus is and how much there is to do in the area. I didn't speak to V'Angelo until after the game because he was in pre-game warm-ups, but we spoke once I saw him."
Illinois was Johnson's first college stop this fall. He may not take many other visits until after his high school season, though.
"Illinois was my first in-season visit this year," he said. "With the majority of our games being on Saturday, it's kind of hard to get out. But it was a great visit. I'd happily go back, maybe even for an official."
After the visit, Jordan contemplated a decision. But after giving it more thought, he has taken a step back and would like to take another visit or two before choosing a school.
"I was thinking about making a decision," Johnson said, "but right now I think it should be thought about more carefully. I don't want to hop into just any program. I want to take an official to Kentucky for sure, likely an official to Illinois, and the other 3 are a toss-up right now."
Johnson laid out some of the key qualities he is looking for in a college, and he is sincere when he mentions academics as a heavy consideration.
"I'm mainly looking at home quickly I can get on the field and how early I can compete for a starting job or key role. I want to see how I fit in the scheme, but most importantly I want to know if these schools have any of the majors I'm looking at. I'm looking to probably double-major in business and communications and do a 3-2 program where I can receive my bachelors degree and start on my masters while I'm still playing football."