Isaiah Epps woke up to a text message from Illinois offensive coordinator Garrick McGee that he couldn't quite comprehend so early in the morning.
"I had to read it over and over again just to make sure it was like real and that it was happening," Epps told Illini Inquirer. "It's my first FBS offer, so for them to take the interest in me and take the chance to offer me and be the first, I feel like that really means a lot."
The offer also opens up a new world for Epps. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound receiver also had held offers from FCS programs -- including Eastern Illinois, Missouri State, South Dakota State and Samford -- but now power-five conference football appears to be in his future.
"It's a little bit rewarding because of all the hard work we put into the summer and everything I've done individually to improve my game and now actually getting an offer from a school like Illinois it means a lot," Epps said. "From here, I just guess it goes forward."
The Illini offer also came rather quickly. Epps first heard from Illinois just last week.
"The first time I talked to (McGee) was a week ago," Epps said. "It all happened really quick."
http://www.scout.com/college/illinois/story/1723874-3-star-de-owen-carne... Illinois is looking to bolster its receiving corps, which has been stricken by injury and inability to get open against Big Ten defensive backs. McGee obviously has taken a quick liking to Jenks' senior film.
"He just said that I like the way I play, being a bigger receiver and being able to move the way I do," Epps said.
Epps now is quickly getting up to speed on Illinois.
"So far I know that of course Lovie Smith is the head coach, coming from the NFL," Epps said. "He has a really good background, I know that. I also know that they run a pro-style offense that in the Big Ten might not be the best look for receivers, but I was looking at their players' stats and they seem to actually incorporate a lot of receivers into their offense. They actually utilize a lot of different guys and get them the ball."
Illinois isn't the only power-five conference team that has taken a liking to Epps. LSU and North Carolina also have expressed interest.
"(LSU) actually is supposed to be coming to be coming to my game this weekend or next weekend with the offensive line coach," Epps said. "North Carolina, coach (Gunter) Brewer came to practice two weeks ago. I'm going on a visit this Saturday. I'm going to Chapel Hill on Saturday. So far those are the only other two schools who are interested right now."
What does Epps want in a program?
"As far as the education part goes, I want to be an engineer, so a school with a pretty good engineering program to where I could get a good degree in that," Epps said. "And then football, just being able to come in and contribute my freshman year would be a big goal of mine. Of course, talking with the coaches and understanding the depth charts and just the way they put players in the offense. I would have to figure that out to make my decision."