Big Ten rivals Iowa and Michigan State may have offered Jirehl Brock Jirehl Brock before Illinois. But since offering him in mid-May, Lovie Smith and his staff have recruited the Class of 2019 prospect hard.
On Tuesday, the Illini hosted Brock for a campus visit to Champaign.
“It was great,” Brock told Illini Inquirer. “They were saying how the program was moving forward in a lot of ways, and they wanted me to be a part of it.”
Illinois offensive analyst and former Illlini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led Brock on a campus tour, and the in-state prospect was impressed by the facilities and the atmosphere.
“The facility, weight room, and everything else is top-tier,” Brock said. “It was really nice. Everybody was super friendly. I saw the dorms and all the classrooms and people just seemed like they really wanted to be there and they wanted others to be there as well.”
Smith played the role of closer, as he was the last person to talk with Brock.
“He’s really tried just to change the program,” Brock said. “He’s saying that they’re going to come back and be one of the top teams in the Big Ten.”
Brock's 23 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore at Quincy put him squarely on the recruiting map and he currently holds five power five offers. Iowa State and Missouri join Iowa, Michigan State and Illinois.
“I know that I am going to take a visit to Missouri maybe next week before I go to Iowa again on the 24th,” Brock said.
While it’s very early in the process, Illinois and Iowa are the current leaders for the up-and-coming tailback.
“Illinois and Iowa are very similar,” Brock said. “Coaching staffs are similar. Iowa is a really good school. A lot of guys have played football at the school and then come back and been on the staff there. I think it’s really cool that they’ve all stayed at their alma mater.”
What has the recruiting process been like for Brock?
“Kind of overwhelming,” He said. “It’s been kind of hard to handle all at once, but I’m glad it’s summer and I don’t have to juggle school. As a kid, I didn’t think I’d have the chance to go to high major colleges like this. I am really blessed.”
In order to speed up the rebuild of Illinois football, it’s essential for the staff to land impact players from the state. Brock would be a huge addition to a very important Class of 2019.
“Coach Smith’s got players coming in and he’s got a lot of different things that can turn it into a winning program,” Brock said.