Illinois head coach Tim Beckman and his staff have been some of the hardest working coaches in the Midwest over the last couple months. That effort paid off again on Thursday with a commitment from Clarkston, Mich., offensive lineman Jesse Chadwell.
"I just committed to Illinois, so I am pretty excited," Chadwell said Thursday afternoon. "They were pretty excited and kept telling me that I was a Fighting Illini now and it was time to work hard."
The recruitment of Chadwell by Illinois really started to heat up last week Tuesday when the southeast Michigan lineman called and talked with the coaching staff. A scholarship offer was hinted at then, and that became official during a Saturday visit to Champaign.
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"This past weekend I went and visited for a junior day and they officially offered there," Chadwell said. "I got a chance to watch their practice, see how their coaches coach, see the facilities and learn about the history of Illinois. To be honest, I fell in love with it and couldn't stop thinking about it on the way home. Illinois is just the right fit for me."
Chadwell admitted he has been thinking hard about Illinois since that phone call last week, and his visit to Champaign convinced him that was where his future lay.
"For them to be the first Big Ten school that has offered and showed interest, I think that says a lot," Chadwell said. "When I visited I enjoyed my time there, their facilities are awesome, their coaching staff is great and I knew it was the right fit."
Prior to receiving the offer from Illinois, Chadwell had already received offers from Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Kent State.
The 6-5, 260-pound Chadwell could potentially play several positions along the offensive line. Illinois was very specific about where they projected him their offense, however.
"They told me before going in that they were going to have me at tackle because they need tackle bodies," Chadwell said. "They're going to take me and turn me into a Big Ten tackle, which I am really excited about.
"Coach Butkus, their offensive line coach, he is a great guy and I really enjoyed my time spent with him. I watched him coach at the junior day, and the way he coached made me want to play football. I was missing football when I was at their practice, so that is how I could tell he was the right [coach] for me."
Chadwell is already planning his next visit back to Champaign, which will be for the Illini's spring game in April.