Will Putnam has held an Illinois offer for more than 20 months. But during the last few months, the Class of 2019 Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood offensive lineman has earned offers from some of the country's most successful programs, including LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State and Georgia.
"It's been a little crazy for me coming from just one or two offers and now it's 10," Putnam said. "It's been a really good experience. I'm talking to all these different schools, and I'm really looking forward to the future and going and visiting all these schools and seeing how that goes."
On Saturday, though, Putnam returned to Illinois for another visit -- this time to watch Illini head coach Lovie Smith take his team through a spring practice. One of the state's top rising junior prospects, Putnam said there is a draw to the in-state school.
"First, it's just Illinois," Putnam said. "I'm from Illinois now. It's the home state team. It's about an hour and a half or so (from home). I feel like the coaches are just really genuinely good guys. A couple of the guys on the team are from our conference and area. A couple of the recruits I know and have talked to speak very highly about it. A lot of it is just the character of the program and the people here really make it. And it's just the home state team. It's right here."
Illinois was just one of many trips he'll take this spring, though.
"Right now, I'm still putting together my whole schedule," Putnam said. "I went to Illinois this weekend, and I think we're going to go to Iowa next week. Then in March, I'll kind of release where we're going, but I think a lot of schools in the Big Ten is where we're going to be visiting. Then we'll go down south to LSU and all that."
Putnam, the son of a military man, moved from Michigan to Illinois two years ago (he lived in Virginia and Hawaii as a young child as well), so he has a natural draw to the Big Ten.
"We're right in the middle of Big Ten country," Putnam said. "It's most convenient. That's just kind of what I grew up in."
Offers from LSU, Georgia and Missouri showed Putnam, however, that he'll have plenty of opportunities to broaden his horizons.
"It really was an eye opener with schools like LSU, Georgia and Mizzou," Putnam said. "We're looking at the SEC, and I'm just so blessed and excited to have the opportunity to go visit all these schools."
Up next though is another Big Ten visit to Iowa.
"I really like the former o-line coach (Brian) Ferentz. He's now the offensive coordinator," Putnam said. "I just kind of like the Iowa mentality, and they're really known for offensive linemen. I think they have a really good strength program as well."