Jafar Armstrong wanted to visit Illinois this weekend. But the Bishop Siege (Kansas) wide receiver also wanted to be at this weekend's Kansas Relays -- one of the country's top track events -- so the speedster took a day off school and visited the Illini on Tuesday.
Armstrong took in the Illini's afternoon spring practice and met with Lovie Smith's new coaching staff.
"It was great," Armstrong said. "Coach Lovie (Smith) is a great coach. Practice is different than the other practices I've seen. It's a lot more mellow. They're executing real well, and they're getting the job done."
The past Illinois staff was the first power-five conference program to extend an offer to Armstrong. The new Illini staff has taken a liking to the 6-foot, 200-pound speedster but wants a bit more time to evaluate him.
"I talked to (wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker)," Armstrong said." He says he loves me. He says he's going to re-evaluate all the offers they made, and that he'll get back to me. He's an NFL-type coach, and he knows what he's talking about. It was good to sit down with him and talk to him more and pick his mind a little bit. He's absolutely a coach I'd love to play for."
Armstrong said he was "surprised" when Illinois hired Lovie Smith.
"Coach Lovie's been to a Super Bowl," Armstrong said. "He's coached many great players, many great receivers: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery. It's just great to think that I could possibly play for a coach like him. It's pretty incredible."
As a junior, Armstrong hauled in 65 catches for 1,262 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning First Team All-State honors. He described his game as "big physical, fast. I think I'm more of a deep threat guy." Right now, Armstrong is focused on track, where he recently ran a season-best 10.79-second 100-meter dash.
Armstrong currently holds offers from some mid-majors and has interest from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, among others. What's next for him in recruiting?
"Spring ball's over for most colleges now, so there will be some coaches at my school," Armstrong said. "I don't know where I'm going to camp at during the summer yet. I'm still running track, try to get my times faster, send them to coaches and see what they think."