Daniel Callendar finally met a coach from the first power-five program to extend him a scholarship offer.
Illinois defensive line coach Mike Phair made an in-home visit to the Yuma (Ariz.) Catholic defensive end on Tuesday, solidifying that Callendar is a top Illini priority.
"Coach Phair is such a cool person," Callendar said. "When me and my family met him, he made us feel really comfortable. A lot of coaches, you think that'd you be really nervous, but I just thought of him as a friend because he was such a cool person. Outside of the football side, he's real funny. I liked the way he puts things. You never know until you meet the person. I really, really enjoyed him coming to my house and meeting my family. We really liked him."
Illinois called in October with an offer for Callendar, a long, athletic edge rusher. Phair told Callendar he fits what they want in the Illini defense.
"He says that since I'm really athletic and fast that I really fit Lovie Smith's system," Callendar said. "When I was talking to coach Phair (laughs), he said, 'No fat guys. We can't have no fat guys.' I was like, 'All right. Sometimes I struggle gaining weight, but that's a start.'"
Callendar said on Dec. 9 he will take an official visit to Illinois, his first to Champaign.
"I'm really excited because you never know until you meet the players and how you feel about the college itself with more info," Callendar said. "I do like the college a lot. Their engineering program is really great. It's a big decision, and I want to make sure that I have every angle that this is going to be the spot for me. I want to pick a spot that works for me and my family because my family is really close. I'm really close to my family, and I want to see that the football team and the university really supports that."
Callendar said Arizona State, Washington State, Wyoming, New Mexico and TCU also are showing interest, but he said Illinois, Wyoming and South Dakota State are recruiting him hardest.
"I have an idea of when I want to make my decision," Callendar said. "I have an idea but not really specific about it. My thought process is just to sit down and talk to my family and work through it all together. There's other things that I don't think about that they do. The more I know the better."