Coran Taylor has visited Illinois multiple times. But on Saturday, the Peoria quarterback got a much closer look at how the Illini actually operate.
The junior-day visit allowed Taylor to watch an Illini padded practice -- up close -- on the field where he led Peoria to its first state championship.
"I've never seen a practice held by Coach (Lovie) Smith, so that stood out and that's what I liked the most," Taylor told Illini Inquirer.
Taylor, who showed off the state championship ring he received on Friday (see the picture below), also watched intently with 2017 quarterback signee Cam Thomas and offensive analyst Nathan Scheelhaase (a former Illini quarterback) as Illini offensive coordinator Garrick McGee lead the Illini quarterbacks through drills.
"I actually learned some of the basic plays and stuff like that," Taylor said. "Coach McGee is really about footwork and taking all the right steps."
Taylor also spoke with Lovie Smith one-on-one at midfield during practice.
"He was talking about that he needs more in-state talent, and he talked mostly about how they run practice really," Taylor said.
Illinois was the first program to offer Taylor, and the Illini remain his only power-five offer. Illinois State also extended an offer, and Taylor will visit the Redbirds on Sunday.
But the Illini are starting to put on the full-court press for Taylor, hoping he will be the first to jump on board in the Class of 2018.
"Yeah, they're pushing hard," Taylor said, "and I think that they're doing a good job. I feel like keeping in-state players is a good thing because the state of Illinois holds a lot of talent."