Cardinal Gibbons 2019 QB Nik Scalzo earns first power-five offer from Illinois Fighting Illini

Florida 2019 quarterback Nik Scalzo discusses his first power-five scholarship offer from Illinois

Illinois coaches visited Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday to get a closer look at 2018 receiver target Carlos Sandy.

But by the time Garrick McGee left, the Illinois offensive coordinator had taken a liking to the 2019 prospect throwing passes to Sandy -- so much so that McGee extended Nik Scalzo his first power-five scholarship offer later that night.

"Honestly it means so much to me," Scalzo told Illini Inquirer. "This is my first Big Ten offer and to come from such an incredible university is amazing. I'm just very blessed that they are investing in me."

What did McGee see in Scalzo to have such quick conviction?

"He told me how consistent I was," Scalzo said. "I was shocked at first because I knew they came for Sandy and not for me, but I was relieved when they offered me."

Scalzo's recruitment is in its infant stages. In addition to Illinois, he has scholarship offers from Yale and LeHigh. He also is receiving interest from Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Scalzo is still learning about Illinois. But his initial Illini impressions are positive.

"(McGee) is a very good coach, and he sees potential in me," Scalzo said. "I have only talked to him once over the phone. I don't know too much yet but I need to do my research. I know they have a great coaching staff with Coach (Lovie) Smith leading the team."

Scalzo said he and Sandy -- who has power-five offers from Illinois and Syracuse -- already have talked about heading to Champaign together.

"We talked about the offer yesterday," Scalzo said, "and we both thought it would be an awesome opportunity to play together on the same team."

Scalzo-- the second Class of 2019 quarterback to receive an Illini offer -- put up big numbers as a sophomore, completing 174 of 290 passes (60.0 percent) for 2,221 yards and 27 touchdowns. He earned honorable mention Class 5A All-State honors. 

"I would consider myself a very smart and accurate QB," Scalzo said. "I am pretty good at throwing on the run and have very good pocket presence. I am more of a passer than a runner. I believe I am developing incredibly. I've grown a few inches since last year. Coach (Matt) DuBuc has put me under his wing and taught me the read of every play and how to dissect film. I am hoping to improve my decision-making and my footwork."

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