Kaleb Eleby had visited Illinois multiple times already. But his fourth visit, on Saturday, was more in-depth than any of the previous three.
During the day trip to Champaign, the three-star Maryland Heights (Mo.) Pattonville quarterback watched an Illini highlight video, toured the campus and participated in a photo shoot. But his favorite part of the visit was football-focused.
"Me and the other quarterbacks got a chance to watch some practice film," Eleby said. "We got to go through a few things they do on the college level. I thought that was really cool."
With offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee out of town, former Illini quarterback and current Illini offensive analyst Nathan Scheelhaase led the film study, which included Eleby 2017 commit Cam Thomas and 2019 St. Louis Trinity Catholic star Isaiah Williams.
"(Scheelhaase) was just basically treating us like it was a real practice," Eleby said. "We went over defenses and the tell-tale signs of coverages and stuff like that. Then we had to identify knowing what to do in certain situations."
Eleby, who holds an Illini offer, was one of dozens of St. Louis visitors the Illini hosted on Saturday as part of an Illinois effort to increase its reach into the Gateway City.
http://www.scout.com/college/illinois/story/1762062-stl-athlete-craddiet... "I definitely like the idea," Eleby said. "Being around your friends and being on a college campus, I definitely think that makes everything better, more comfortable and better suited. I liked it. I think it was a great effort trying to get the St. Louis kids involved. I think it should be done more often."
Eleby said he doesn't have any other visits currently planned. He said Iowa State (his only other power-five offer) and Minnesota also are showing interest.
"Right now, I'm just trying to get bigger, stronger, faster and prepare for my senior season," Eleby said. "Whatever happens happens kind of thing with whatever colleges invited me down and might be interested in me."
Illinois, which currently plans to take two quarterbacks in the Class of 2018, certainly stands out though.
"I really like Illinois," Eleby said. "It's a great atmosphere. I love the coaching staff. I just like what they preach about family and understanding what it means to be a true student-athlete. Those are two things that I really value, and the fact that Illinois really values those things, it really sits well with me."