Illinois has made up a lot of ground in the recruitment of Quran Hafiz during the last month, pushing into the three-star Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood cornerback's final four before his Dec. 19 decision.
"They have a place, and I like the plan they have," Hafiz said.
Hafiz took an official visit to Champaign last month. On Sunday Illinois head coach Lovie Smith and secondary coach Paul Williams made an in-home visit to Hafiz, one of their top priorities.
Hafiz said what stood out was that "you could just feel positive energy" and "just being able to get around him and get comfortable."
Hafiz said Smith stayed for about an hour and that the Illini head coach talked about "just the direction the program is going in and how I can help and be a part of it."
Illinois is selling Hafiz, who will enroll early, on coming in during the spring semester and immediately competing for a starting cornerback spot. The Illini like his length and athleticism in Smith's aggressive, physical defense.
"He knows I can play and fit there scheme," Hafiz said. "They say they have a great education and also I can come in and play early if I do what I need to do."
So what lasting effect will the in-home visit have on his recruitment?
"It just showed me what I needed to see," Hafiz said. "It didn't really change much."
Hafiz said all four of his top schools -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State and Nebraska -- visited him this week and all plan on visiting him again this week.
What steps will he take to settle on his final decision?
"I don't know honestly," Hafiz said. "It's tough. Just trying to find where I fit, but God has a plan. I've been praying, and I know he'll answer my prayers and put me in the right position."