Cameron O'Neil got a personal visit from Garrick McGee on Tuesday. And the Illinois offensive coordinator brought good news: the Glenwood School (Ala.) wide receiver's first power-five conference offer.
"Coach McGee, the offensive coordinator, he came from Atlanta actually," O'Neil told Illini Inquirer. "He was recruiting down there and he said he wasn't really supposed to come down here today, but he just came to see me. He came in and talked to me and told me they wanted to offer me. I was speechless really. It was crazy."
O'Neil admits he doesn't know much about Illinois, and Tuesday was the first time he'd met McGee. But the Illinois offensive coordinator seemed to lay a good foundation in the recruitment of the 6-foot-2 receiver.
"He said he likes everything about my game," O'Neil said. "He said he watches me on film like every day. He said he just loves me that much. He said he likes the way I catch the ball and high-point the ball. He just likes me as a football player. He said that more than likely I'll be the main receiver on their team. He's a good guy. Even though I just met him today, I can tell that he knows a football player when he sees one. I kind of felt a connection as soon as I met him."
O'Neil said he hopes to take a visit to Illinois, likely this fall. He also has offers from Troy, Jacksonville State, Western Carolina, Alcorn State and Bethune-Cookman. But the Illinois offer changes his recruiting landscape.
"It means a lot," O'Neil said. "Because I know coming from the school I'm at, it's a smaller school, it's helped with all the work I've put in for football and it's paying off, finally."
O'Neil hopes the Illinois offer helps open up even more possibilities. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Virginia are also showing interest.
"I know now that I have an offer from Illinois that more offers are going to keep coming in," O'Neil said. "Getting this offer just means more than the other ones because it's a big school."
What's O'Neill looking for in a program?
"I want to get into sports medicine, so somewhere that has a good sports medicine program," O'Neil said. "I just want to go to a school where I feel comfortable, and I'm at home and I just feel that connection as soon as I walk on campus."