With the arrival of offensive coaches Paul Petrino, Jeff Brohm and Greg Nord, new prospect names popped up on the Illinois recruiting board. Evan Wilson, a tight end from Woodstock, Georgia, hadn't heard from Illinois before the arrival of the new coaches. He now has a schlarship offer.
"With the new offensive staff, my recruitment by Illinois took off. Coach Nord had recruited me at Louisville. When he got the tight ends job at Illinois, he called me up and told me Illinois needed a tight end. So, we started the recruitment process right back up again. Coach Nord has been recruiting me since my junior year."
"I've talked to Petrino maybe once or twice. Coach Nord speaks very highly of him, and I've talked to Coach Nord about him a lot. I know the offense he runs and where he comes from."
Before Illinois came into the picture, Wilson made a commitment to Middle Tennessee State.
"I've got a great relationship with Middle Tennessee over the past two years. I've had one of my previous teammates go there. I've been up to campus many times and seen many games. I really love that atmosphere of that school. It was a place I felt comfortable and that's why I made my decision."
However, Wilson is now very interested in Illinois. He wants to make sure of certain things before he thinks about switching his commitment.
"I would have to feel like Illinois had a tight family atmosphere, and I want to see tight closeness of the team. I'd like to see what direction they're trying to head after last year and see how they're trying to improve.
"I also want see what they're bringing to the table for me. I know Illinois is a more academically prestigious school than Middle Tennessee, but I'd like to see that firsthand and see what exactly the differences are. I'd like to major in sports medicine."
Wilson plans to make a final decision within the next week.
"Illinois will be my last visit. I'll be flying in Friday and leaving Sunday. I'll have a decision by Monday or Tuesday of next week."
The Woodstock Wolverines had a successful season, but the expectations were higher than just a winning season and a playoff berth.
"We definitely thought we could go undefeated. Our goal was the state championship. Anything less than that and we underachieved.
"We went 10-2 and lost in the second round of the playoffs. We lost the undefeated season after a tough game against McEachern, who is the conference powerhouse."
Wilson played both ways for his team.
"I played tight end and defensive end this season. We run the I-formation with some option mixed in. I want to work on my strength and my weight development so I can gain a few more pounds. It's something I'm really working hard on.
"I'm working on my power drive and blocking skills. I'm spending my time in the offseason in the weight room getting bigger and stronger."
"I'd say my strength is my athleticism. With my tall frame, I'm still able to run my routes well and go get the ball."
The 6'-6", 236 pound tight end sees similarities between himself and a San Diego Charger Pro Bowler.
"I try to model my game after Anotonio Gates. We've got similar body structures, and he's got tremendous athleticisim."
Wilson grew up a fan of Clemson because he was born less than 10 miles from the school. His dad also played football for the Tigers. His room is painted orange. Hopefully, after a visit to Illinois, he won't have to change the color of his room.