Quincy Patterson has visited the Illinois campus several times. But Saturday's four-hour stay in Champaign for an unofficial visit further deepened the 2018 Chicago Solorio quarterback's relationship with the Illini staff.
"I fell in love with it even more," Patterson said. "I got more good insight on the school. Talking to Lovie (Smith) a lot more and (offensive coordinator Garrick) McGee felt great."
Patterson spent a lot of time with McGee talking about what the Illini offensive coordinator wants out of the quarterback position and how Patterson fits.
"He strongly emphasized the need for a dual-threat quarterback and that their system will work perfectly around that type of quarterback," Patterson said. "He also talked about getting to get me to learn coverages better."
Patterson, who has 10 power-five conference scholarship offers, took several visits this fall, most recently to Vanderbilt and Michigan State.
"What stood out about Vandy was just the atmosphere and being in another state is always cool because you kind of don't know what to expect," Patterson said. "Michigan State just has the legacy of being great. They haven't had the best season, but that's what the off-season is for."
Along with Illinois, Penn State and Indiana have been two of the top schools vying for Patterson. But Penn State recently took a commitment from Class of 2018 Scout300 quarterback Justin Fields, and Indiana promoted defensive coordinator Tom Allen to head coach following Kevin Wilson's resignation. Does either event affect Patterson?
"As far as Penn State, I believe in competition so that wasn't much of an issue," Patterson said. "Indiana, I was honestly shocked to hear about it. It startled me for a minute thinking things would change between me and the coaches. But nothing changed at all, which is good to see."
Illinois was the first power-five conference team to extend an offer and subsequent visits have made the in-state program a major player in his recruitment.
"I've just become super comfortable with the entire staff," Patterson said. "They always show the same amount of love, if not, more. So that always adds to the relationship I have with them. They're all just true player coaches. What I mean by that is that they're there for the players and only the players."
Patterson said he will relax with recruiting during the dead period during the next month and then continue to evaluate through the spring.
"I'm more than likely going to commit over the summer just to kind of let everything play out," Patterson said. "If recruiting really just doesn't slow down then I'll possibly hold off even longer."
Patterson earned All-State honors in Class 5A and helped lead Solorio to a 7-4 record and a second-round playoff berth.
"As far as a team we had a relatively successful season I would say," Patterson said. "We didn't go nearly as far as we wanted to, but we definitely improved off of last year. As a player, I think I grew so much. My love for the game really grew ,which showed last year when the season ended. The one goal next year is to end the season on a super positive note, such as winning state. I also learned that the phrase 'play every down like it's your last' is something you must really take pride in because we lost some really close games this year that I still can't get over. If we had played every down like our last, who knows what would have transpired."