Kaleb Eleby admitted that he didn't recognize the tall, thin man wearing a backward ball cap.
But Illinois offensive coordinator Garrick McGee made sure Eleby, a 2018 Pattonville (Mo.) quarterback, got an education on the former Illini quarterback great and former No. 1 NFL Draft pick.
"I just got to meet Jeff George," Eleby said. "I was too young to know who he is. But I definitely was informed, and it was a true blessing to meet him."
Illinois is hoping Eleby will follow in George's footsteps -- and the footsteps of George's son, Jeff George Jr., who helped lead the Illini to a 31-27 win over Michigan State on Saturday -- to Champaign.
Eleby was in attendance to witness the upset of the Spartans, his second visit to Illinois this season. He also visited Illinois for the Week 2 game against North Carolina in front of a sell-out crowd.
"I definitely like Illinois," Eleby said. "This is the second time coming up. I think this is a great place. I love the atmosphere. I love the coaches. We'll just see where things go."
Eleby, a dual-threat quarterback who has the arm and legs McGee wants in a quarterback, spent time with the Illini offensive coordinator prior to kickoff on Saturday.
"He was just talking about how things are at Illinois, how he coaches his quarterbacks and how he communicates with them, what they learn, how they develop," Eleby said. "It was pretty cool. We're just building a relationship."
Illinois is one of two power-five programs, along with Iowa State, to extend a scholarship offer so far.
Eleby said that Iowa, Oklahoma and Northwestern also have expressed interest. He also has visited Iowa State and Ohio State.
His junior film should earn him even more interest. Eleby completed 174 of 296 passes (58.8 percent) for 2,616 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We had a good season. Unfortunately we fell short. But there's a lot of good things that came out of this season. Being a quarterback, one of the things you have to look at is the positives in every situation. I really liked my progression from sophomore to junior year. There's just things that take quarterbacks from the next level, what separates the goods from the great. Understanding defenses, knowing what to do with the ball in certain situations and making my progressions and going through my progressions. It's just the small stuff."