Cincinnati (Oho) Sycamore running back Ra'Von Bonner has a pretty close connection to Illinois football.
"My youth leader's younger brother played there: Steve Hull," said Bonner, referring to the fellow Sycamore graduate former Illini safety and receiver who graduated in 2013.
Bonner will visit Hull's college alma mater on Saturday for Illinois' season opener against Murray State.
Illinois recently upped its interest in the 6-foot, 210-pound running back who ran for 1,429 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior and also hauled in 20 catches for 267 yards.
http://www.scout.com/college/illinois/story/1698954-illini-football-recr..."They offered me about a month ago," Bonner said. "It's always been a dream to play in the Big Ten. This is huge for me and my family."
Bonner also sports offers from Cincinnati and several MAC programs, including Western Michigan and Toledo. He doesn't have any timetable to whittle down his list or make a decision.
"Right now, I'm just taking visits to get on all the campuses," Bonner said. "I don't know (which other visits I'll take), but Illinois is my focus."
Illinois wants to add at least one more running back in the Class of 2017, and Bonner has the combination of size and speed Illinois desires.
"It's a great school and Coach Lovie Smith coming in is such a huge step for the program," Bonner said. "I just have to get up there and meet the coaches. I want to see what the campus is like."