Marcellus Johnson is a great example of what can be gained through summer camp exposure.
The Normal (Ill.) Community Class of 2018 offensive lineman entered last week with zero scholarship offers. But fter participating in camps at Northwestern and Missouri in the span of three days, Johnson now has the opportunity to play at five Division-I programs.
Eastern Michigan, Wyoming, Indiana State, North Dakota and Missouri State all extended offers during the past couple days.
"I have shown some athleticism, work ethic, and showing the ability to be coachable," Johnson said. "It has been exciting getting these offers, but at the same time it's a lot to process because it happened so quickly. But I'm very grateful to have these opportunities, and it makes me wants to work harder."
The flurry of offers also has pushed Johnson to participate in more camps. Johnson will camp at Northern Illinois on Wednesday and will then make the short trip to Champaign for the Friday Night Lights Camp at Illinois.
"I have had some contact with NIU, and they wanted to see me at camp," Johnson said. "Illinois, I have not had much contact with, but I hope to show them my athleticism, work ethic, and also I want to prove myself. I beleive that I have a lot of potential. I had just turned 17 in April."
Johnson showed good feet and plus athleticism as a junior, but he played at a pretty thin weight (240-245 pounds) -- at least for a power-five prospect. But he said he is now up to 277 pounds after an offseason of strength gains and a beefed-up diet that includes 5,000 calories per day. Johnson's father -- Eric, a former Pittsburgh and Illinois State player who also played in the NFL and CFL -- has helped him with his offseason regimen.
"My dad was an ex-professional athIete so his experience has helped me with a lot of it," Johnson said. "He had gave me a meal plan, and that's what I have been sticking to. I feel fine moving with the weight. I've had no problem because it has been a gradual gain."
Johnson's recent gains and performances have earned him offers -- and increased attention.
Illinois, which plans to sign at least five offensive linemen in the Class of 2018, is very interested in seeing him up close. The Illini already have commitments from two players from the Big 12 Conference: Peoria's Coran Taylor and Danville offensive lineman Julian Pearl.
Johnson is eager to showcase himself for a B1G opportunity.
"I don't know very much about the (Illini) coaching staff," Johnson said, "but I am very interested in the program."