Illinois hosted dozens of St. Louis-area football players on Saturday, but St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North four-star defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins definitively was one of the headliners.
"It went great. I really enjoyed myself," Perkins said. "I took the campus tour in the summer, but I got to see a few more things. I just really enjoyed the campus and the dorms and just how they look. They just look fun."
Perkins also broke down some film with the Illini coaches but missed half the defensive line breakdown because head coach Lovie Smith pulled him into his office for a one-on-one chat. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive lineman, who has almost 20 power-five offers, is one of the IIllini's top priorities in the Class of 2018.
"We just talked about me and my talent and what I can do to become a better football player," Perkins said. "I just enjoyed it. I just enjoyed talking to him. He's just a great guy, a great coach. He's a great person. I just really like him a lot. I just like how comforting he is. He makes me feel at home.
"He just told me about the resources they have and what they can do to become a better person and better football player."
Perkins also thinks the Illini are smart to ramp up their efforts in St. Louis.
"It's great that they're trying trying to come to St. Louis and take over," Perkins said. "They see how much talent is in St. Louis right now. I think it's great what they're doing in St. Louis and how they're trying to come in and take some kids from St. Louis and give us a chance."
Illinois will have to battle some serious competition -- Arkansas, Iowa, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wisconsin, to name some -- to land Perkins. He said the Illini have a chance.
"I don't have a top schools list or nothing, but they're definitely still in my recruitment," Perkins said. "They're still on the board."
Perkins said he will be taking all his official visits this fall and will announce a top schools list in August.
What's he looking for in a program?
"A school that can help me mature as a football player and take me to the next level and help me become a better person."