The No. 1 player on the Block I Report was in Champaign to check out a practice, as the Illini took to the field in full pads for the first time this year.
Tight end Caleb Reams from Gurnee (Ill.) Warren Township has been a familiar face at Illinois, and he was back again on Friday. Reams said he watched the tight ends go through drills, particulary senior Jon Davis who has a similar skill set to Reams.
"The practice was really good," Reams said. "They were getting after it the first day of pads. I felt like Jon Davis' shadow today."
After camping at Illinois early this summer, Reams (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) has built a strong relationship with Illini tight ends coach Alex Golesh.
"I love Coach Golesh as a coach and as a person," Reams said. "When I was being coached by him at an Illinois camp it just felt right. Just watching what the tight ends do, I think I could fit very well."
Like Davis, Reams is a versatile athlete who can play an H-back type of role in the Illinois offense. Reams said he got to sit in on team and position meetings before attending the practice in the evening.
The quarterback situation at Illinois, with sophomore transfer Wes Lunt widely expected to win the starting job, is a plus for the Illini in the recruitment of Reams.
Reams said he watched Lunt work on Friday, and was very impressed.
"He was great today," Reams said. "He made one mistake and threw an interception. Other than that he was a gunslinger and was just throwing the ball everywhere with ease. I feel like they are going to do some things this year, and surprise some people."
With Davis graduating after this year, Reams says he sees an opportunity for early playing time filling the same type of roll.
As for his recruitment, the plan is to announce his college decision prior to his home game on Aug 29. He will make the announcements via social media.
"While I'm with my team before we play Lyons Township I'm just going to tweet it out," Reams said. "I'm sure a coach will get on the phone with me soon after that."
Most consider Illinois the leader, with Wake Forest a close second and Western Michigan still in the mix. He visited Wake Forest in June.
"It's those three, and I don't know where I'm going yet," Reams said.