Tucker Day admittedly was a bit disappointed when he didn't receive a scholarship during an official visit to Illinois earlier this month.
But it turns out that the Brentwood (Tenn.) kicker/punter just experienced some delayed gratification. Illinois extended a scholarship offer on Wednesday.
"It's an early Christmas gift, as Coach Lig (Illini special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky) said," Day told Illini Inquirer. "Any time I am an honored with an offer, I am really happy and the timing is great."
Ligashesky, who must replace Ryan Frain at punter, called Day with the news and then handed the phone to Illini head coach Lovie Smith.
"They said, 'How do you feel about a full-ride scholarship?'" Day said. "I was shocked and excited and really happy. Just thanked God in my head.
"It's amazing. I am so happy to have received this offer. Like all of my offers, it's a huge deal and I cannot be more honored then to be offered by Coach Smith."
So why did Illinois delay the offer by a few weeks?
"They said that now a scholarship is available," Day said, "and, 'We want you. You are our guy. We want to get you up here again.'"
Day also holds a power-five offer from Rutgers and plans visits to the Scarlet Knights and to Mississippi State. Illinois remains one of his top options, and he hopes to plan an unofficial visit to return to Champaign before Signing Day.
"They are one of my favorites, and I am giving every college my attention," Day said. "I am making a choice of what's best for me."