Esezi Otomewo knew his recruitment was about to turn up a notch when he received a call from Lovie Smith.
The Illinois head coach on Thursday extended a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Indianapolis Ben Davis senior defensive end.
"It means good things are still coming my way," Otomewo said. "It's a Big Ten offer, so that means other schools are probably looking at me still. It's closer to home, so that's a great thing.
"He was saying good things are going to come my way, and that they'd love to have me. He said I have a good upside and stuff like that. They say I have a lot of room for improvement."
Illinois is casting a wide net for defensive end, a huge need with senior pass rushers Dawuane Smoot and Carroll Phillips set to graduate -- and likely get selected in the NFL Draft. Otomewo is a long, athletic defensive end with a high ceiling.
Illinois, which is looking to improve its recruiting efforts in Indianapolis, immediately becomes one of Otomewo's top options. He also has offers from Iowa State, Syracause, Western Michigan and Toledo.
"They're Big Ten and they're really close to home," Otomewo said. "Two of my offers that I'm considering are Iowa State and Syracuse, and they're kind of far, and Western Michigan."
Otomewo said he plans to visit Illinois after his high school season. He will visit another Big Ten school this weekend: Indiana.
"I'm going to IU on Saturday," Otomewo said. "I just know they're recruiting me. I haven't gotten in touch with their coaches. My coach takes care of recruiting during the season."