Part of the Illinois commitment whirlwind this week was Benet Academy offensive tackle Patrick Flavin. The tall, rangy tackle planned to take one more visit but instead decided that he already knew where he wanted to go.
"UCLA wanted me to visit January 14th. I really didn't want to wait that long. I felt like I'd waited long enough, and I'd been out there twice. I knew what it was like, but after being at Illinois, I felt like Illinois was better for me."
Flavin got a chance to commit under unique circumstances. He informed Joe Gilbert personally while the Illini offensive line coach was at Flavin's home for a visit.
"Coach (Paul) Petrino's been calling me, but Coach Gilbert was at my house Tuesday night when I committed. I called Coach (Ron) Zook and Coach Petrino, and they were both definitely excited."
Flavin realizes that the college level will be much more physically demanding and already knows what will be required of him to prepare for Illinois football.
"Right now in the offseason I need to keep working out. The plan looks like I'll redshirt so I can get bigger in the weight room, but after Jeff Allen graduates, the position will be up for grabs and I'll be ready to compete for playing time."
In addition to the coaches, Flavin broke the good news to some of his future teammates from the western suburbs of Chicago.
"I talked to Matt LaCosse and Reilly O'Toole. They were both excited. I talked to them a couple days leading up to that. After playing against them, it will be cool to play with them. With all of these guys playing together now from Illinois, it will be really special."