Blaine Scott's visit to Illinois is further proof of how much Illinois football's brand has improved during the past year.
The four-star Sciotoville (Ohio) Portsmouth East offensive tackle actually reached out to Illinois to set up a visit. In previous years, Illinois was begging out of state top-300 prospects to visit.
"I enjoyed my time here the last time I was here (in September)," Scott said. "They're definitely under consideration for my decision May 5th, so I wanted to come back."
Scott said he plans to release a top-12 next week and set a decision day for May 5 because it is his birthday. He said he will be an early enrollee and wants to "help build my (recruiting) class" wherever he goes.
Scott has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Cincinnati and several others. But he said "Illinois is definitely a school that I'm considering."
"I just love what Coach (Lovie) Smith's about," Scott said. "Coach (Luke) Butkus is an intense guy, bringing the energy as you can see out there on the practice field. I like what they're about. I like what they're doing with the program."
Scott sat through a film session with the Illinois offensive line and Butkus before Saturday's Illini spring practice.
"Just the energy he brings, the passion he has in the o-line room," Scott said. "He's tight with his guys. It's a family, but he can get on you and love you. I just really enjoy what he's about. The slogan 'We Will Win' just says it all, so I really think they will and I enjoy what they're about."
Scott also took in practice and met with Smith after practice.
"You just learn how tight the guys are with the coaches and just learn the relationships with Coach Butkus and his players," Scott said. "You learn about the guys. Not even the scheme. I'll get that when I get to the college that I go to."
Scott has recently visited Duke, Kentucky and Cincinnati. He also plans to visit Ole Miss, Minnesota and Rutgers.
"Until May 5th, I have about every weekend and spring break booked up," Scott said. "There's a few other places, I just haven't worked out the (schedule) yet."
What is Scott looking for in a program?
"Just the academics," Scott said. "Is the degree going to get me something later in life? Tradition, not just football-wise, but traditionally are they a well-looked upon school? Do people know who they are? And then atmosphere. Not just what you see on Saturdays, but just the atmosphere on campus, who you're hanging out with and just the all-around attitude and tone of the campus."
Scott has a lot of work and traveling to do before making a decision in about two and a half months.
"I've built so many good relationships with so many coaches, people and campuses that it's going to be hard," Scott said. "But in the end, it's definitely a selfish decision that I'm going to have to make for me and my family. It's going to be something I have to do, and I look forward to it.
"You hear recruits talk about how it's a stressful time, which it is. It's a decision that's going to affect your whole life. But on the same terms, it's a blessing that obviously you've seen the percentages, not a lot of kids get to go through this. So I've enjoyed myself."