Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood junior tight end Daniel Helm broke out this summer with standout performances at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge and the Illinois NIKE Camp. He has continued that strong play early in his junior season.
Through five games, Helm has caught 23 passes for 480 yards and eight touchdowns. He has helped lead Glenwood High to a 5-0 record so far this season.
Not surprisingly, the interest from college coaches has picked up for the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Helm through the first three weeks of September.
"I've been getting a lot of mail from different schools - some requesting film and to contact them more," Helm said. "I'd probably say the West Coast teams caught me by surprise. I have been getting mail from UCLA, Stanford and Washington."
UCLA is an interesting addition to Helm's interest list because the Illinois native has strong family ties to the Los Angeles area school.
"My dad and my mom both went to UCLA and they love the Pac-12. I know that the Pac-12 uses their tight ends too, and I want to catch the ball a lot if I can.
With those ties to UCLA, Helm grew up following the Bruins on the field and was a fan of the program in his early years.
"They haven't been any good until recently, and I'm starting to get excited about it again," Helm said. "Bottom line, when it comes to my decision, one of the most important things is how much the team is going to use the tight end. I have been checking some stats and it seems like they have been throwing to the tight end at UCLA a decent amount so I will definitely keep considering them if they are willing to pursue me more."
Big Ten and SEC schools are also showing strong interest in Helm. He picked up his first offer of the recruiting process over the summer from Illinois. He attended the Illini's home contest this past weekend and is considering returning to Champaign this weekend to see them play Penn State.
Helm also has plans to visit Notre Dame on Oct. 20 for their home matchup with BYU. He saw the Irish play two weekends ago when they traveled up to Michigan State. The Spartans are another program that is showing interest in Helm.
"Watching the game and seeing the stats, I see that they use their tight end a lot," Helm said of Michigan State. "That piqued my interest."
With his recruitment still in its infancy, and Illinois the only school to jump out early with an offer, Helm expects his college decision to still be a ways down the road.
"I'm still weighing out all those decisions," he said. "I don't know how many offers I might get. I'd like to see what schools contact and have all my options on the table before I make my decision."