The Illinois football staff sees recruiting opportunity in Alabama. The Illini landed their first Yellowhammer State prospect by flipping defensive lineman Jamal Woods on Signing Day.
The Illini hope to make a bigger presence in Alabama in the Class of 2018, and on Saturday, they hosted Prattville (Ala.) Autauga Academy offensive lineman Trace Ott for an unofficial visit.
"(Illinois wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-) Stoker was one of the first coaches to really talk to me," Ott told Illini Inquirer. "I just thought this would be a great experience for me to come up here and get out of the South a little bit. I've just started talking to him for about two weeks now, and he gave me the invite and told me to come down for a visit. I was just really looking forward to it."
Illinois is looking at Ott -- who drove 10 hours to visit Champaign -- as a center/guard prospect.
"They tell me I can move people around," Ott said. "I play offensive line and I'm nasty, and that's what they seem to like about me. I just like to get after it, that take-no-prisoners attitude."
Ott also has interest from Troy and East Tennessee. He visited Mississippi State last weekend and plans visits to Appalachian State and Stanford in the coming weeks.
Illinois coaches told Ott they will keep in touch.
"They told me they appreciated me coming up, and that they would be by to see me in the spring," Ott said. "They were looking forward to starting a relationship with me."