Avery Thornton was going through drills at a spring practice on Tuesday when his coach pulled him to the side. He had some good news for the Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson athlete.
"He showed me the text saying that I have an offer from Illinois," Thornton said. "My reaction was to give my coach a big hug because I know that he has faith in me."
Illinois isn't only Thornton's first power-five conference offer. Illinois is his first Division-I offer.
"I have one other offer from (Division-II) Virginia Union, but this is my first power-five offer," Thornton said. "It means everything to me to get this offer from Illinois."
Illinois running backs coach Thad Ward has led the recruitment for Thornton, who plays quarterback, receiver and safety for Boyd Anderson. Illinois hasn't locked in on a certain position for him. The Illini have a need for both wide receiver and defensive back in the Class of 2018.
"I have talked to Thad Ward on the phone, and he sees me as and athlete because I play everywhere on the football field," Thornoton said. "They say they like my speed and the way I take leadership on my team."
Champaign may be a long way from South Florida, but Thornton is taking a keen interest in Illinois.
"I know a lot about Illinois," Thornton said. "It is a very good school. They're trying to give me a visit to come up there in the summer."