Illinois hosted one of the state's biggest prospects for the Fresno State game. The 6'-8", 290 pound offensive lineman Fabbian Ebelle from Simeon High School in Chicago came away with his first scholarship offer.
"I attended the game. It was a real exciting game. After that, I talked to some of the coaches. I went to school with Jack Ramsay so we went to where he was staying at and talked a little bit while we ate. He told me Illinois was the right fit for him and that's the place he wanted to be."
With Ebelle's mammoth size, the coaches have a pretty good idea where he will play.
"The coaches see me as an offensive tackle. I talk to Coach Gilbert some, but Reggie Mitchell is my recruiting coach."
Besides Illinois, a handful of schools are interested in the offensive lineman.
"Arizona, Wyoming, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois are the ones I've talked to recently. I've talked to other schools, but everyone is still in their seasons with bowl games and everything. I'm going to take my official visit to Illinois on January 22nd. I'm supposed to be going to Arizona around January 8th."
Although National Signing Day is during the first week of February, Ebelle might wait before making his decision.
"If the timing isn't right, I might sign in March. I have to find the perfect fit. I'm looking for three things in a school. My education, the social life, and the sports part of the school. If all three aren't there, then that school won't be the right place for me."
With uncertainty surrounding the Illinois coaching staff, any potential changes could affect Ebelle's recruitment and final decision.
"It really does change things. I have relationships with the coaches who are there, and I really like them. If the coaching staff were to change, it would be different for me there."
Ebelle's height is an advantage most offensive lineman don't possess.
"It makes a lot of things easy. With my arms being long, I don't have to do much in the pass block. I just have to set up real good, shoot my arms out, and make sure I have my punch real good. Before they even get off the line, my hands are already on them.
"I feel like I'm at the top of my game with the run and the pass. I was really good with the pass, but now I've got the run down. I've got my hip flex and my ankle flex down. I feel real good about both."
If there was one thing Ebelle wants to work on, it's his speed.
"I just want to get more explosion, better than it is so I can get off the ball and punish people right away instead of giving them a chance. I'm lifting and running right now with a trainer."
He spent a lot of time attending camps last summer getting his name out and looking for his first offer.
"It helped me out a lot. Going to a lot of camps in different states, I got a chance to go up against different players. It made me feel I have to get stronger or faster or have better technique just so I can compete with those guys and compete better than them. I feel I was a better player after the camps."
Although Simeon didn't win the state championship, the goal of every high school team, it had a very successful season.
"We thought we were going to be the first public team to win state. We worked extremely hard in the offseason, and we had great team chemistry. We also had older players. So we knew that we had the team to do it, but other things happened. From the starting offense, we lose four players next year so they should be pretty good."
Football is a family affair for the Ebelles. His brother also plays for Simeon.
"My brother plays defensive tackle. He's going to be something to look for. I've been working with him, and I have to get him right for the upcoming season so it can be his breakout season. I hope the best for him. We go up against each other in one-on-one drills. He probably got past me once. One time I had him and his helmet was coming off so I stopped, but he kept coming."
With his senior year nearly half way over, Ebbele is looking toward his future education and knows what he wants to study.
"I want to major in sports management."