When Illinois running backs coach Thad Ward told Carlos Sandy to give him a call, the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons receiver wasted little time in dialing Ward's digits.
"I called him as soon as I could," Sandy said. "He said that he loved my film and they're looking for fast receiver that can be a game-changer with the ball in there hands. He believes that I have the ability to do so, and I know I have the ability to do so. So he offered me right then and there."
Illinois is the second power-five program to offer Sandy, joining Syracuse.
"When (Ward) told me (I had an offer), I was shocked and excited," Sandy said. "My first Big Ten offer. It feels like all my hard work is starting to pay off and college coaches are starting to recognize me more. But the hard work doesn't stop. I'm always getting better day by day. I am truly blessed to receive an offer from Illinois."
Illinois wasn't able to corral its top slot receiver targets in the Class of 2017, so it's a big focus in the Class of 2018. Sandy is a quick accelerator with breakaway speed. Though he's 5-foot-8, he's a good leaper and high-points passes.
"I'm a hardworking player," Sandy said. "I practice for perfection, use my speed as an advantage, and I am definitely a game-changer."
Ward is building a rapport with the Florida standout.
"Coach Ward is real chill and easy to talk to," Sandy said. "Their coaching staff has a lot of experience, and they know what they're trying to do with the program."
Besides Illinois and Syracuse, Sandy also has offers from Appalachian State, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Marshall, Southern Miss, Toledo and Troy.
"App State, Syracuse, and Illinois are recruiting me the hardest right now," Sandy said. "I don't have any set dates on when I'm going to visit but I'm planning on visiting App, Florida, Syracuse and Illinois."
What's Sandy looking for in a program?
"I'm looking for a school that has a great environment, a coaching staff that I can get along with easily, and a place I'll be able to come in and be a big impact," Sandy said. "Not only on the football side, but they'll also have me set for the rest of my life."