After adding four new staff members just a month before Signing Day, Illinois is extending its reach beyond the Midwest in an attempt to secure some instant-impact talents.
On Tuesday, the Illini extended a scholarship to the Deep South, calling Conyers (Ga.) Salem defensive back Evan Jones with some good news.
"They offered (Tuesday)," Jones said. "(Illini assistant coach Al) Seamonson and (defensive coordinator Mike) Phair are speaking to me. They've been recruiting me since about November. I believe that Illinois is a very highly regarded school academically and athletically with them being in the Big Ten conference.
"Illinois has told me that they are doing big things, and they would like me to be a part of that."
Jones, who has 11 scholarship offers, said he has tentatively planned three official visits before the Feb. 4 Signing Day: Air Force on Jan. 15, Illinois on Jan. 23 and Nay on Jan. 30.
"Right now, I am looking for a school with good academic standing and a team that plays a high caliber of football," Jones said.
Illinois is looking to add some length and strength in the secondary -- where it loses three of its four 2015 starters -- to make an immediate impact.
"As a player I feel as if I have the speed, physicality and athleticism to to be a dominant corner or safety, depending on where the team needs me," Jones said.