Illinois football is on the cusp of a great 2018 recruiting class. Some big time names may be signing with the Illini during the early signing period. Reuben Unije is one of those guys and headlined last weekends official visitors in Champaign. Illinois needed to show Unije what it plans to become in the future and also let him feel the closeness the staff and players have. I caught up with Reuben early in the week and we discussed his visit and decision plans.
Illinois lead for Unije
With a decision looming in the next week, it was important for Unije to see Champaign and talk face to face with players and coaches. I asked him who he spent the most time with and his thoughts on the future facility upgrades.
“I spent most of the time with Coach Butkus and Coach Fotu. I hung around Larry Boyd, Bennett Williams and Bobby Roundtree alot as well. We definitely all had good vibes. They all played early and contributed, that’s something that sticks out to me. The coaching staff has done a great job preparing the young guys.
On the Illinois future upgrades to football facilities, definitely caught his eye.
“They showed me what the new performance center is gonna look like and it’s extremely impressive. I liked what I saw.”
Every staff in the country will tell kids what they want to hear or as Reuben told me, “sweet talk you”. I wanted to know if he felt like Illinois had come across sincere and showed him that he was a priority.
“Illinois definitely has made me feel like a priority. I can tell what’s genuine, you can just feel it. I know I can come in and play early and they need good players like me to help make this team a winner. It wasn’t so much what I wanted to see when I came to Champaign, it was the feeling. I definitely got what I wanted to feel. It was a 10 out of 10 visit.”
My final question for Reuben was about Illinois future. Does he believe Illinois can be good again?
“The staff is in place to be good here. They are starting to get the players to fit their style and again, it’s about getting good players. You can have a great staff and not succeed if you don’t have the right pieces.”
Reuben told me he was considering visiting Ole Miss or Florida Atlantic before making a decision. As of today, none of that has happened and he will be deciding any day now. He could have easily visited any of these school before this week. He chose to visit Illinois before the early signing period and now he’s deciding. For me, all signs are pointing to Reuben committing the Illinois and signing next week. He is familiar and comfortable with the staff and his teammates from IMG love Illinois coaches as well.
Teammate Verdis Brown will be deciding next Friday and many believe he will be choosing Illinois. Reuben wants to play in the NFL, and he knows the coaches at Illinois can help get him there. Playing time and a program these kids believe is gonna win very soon is appealing. Reuben will help bolster an already strong and young Offensive Line. Illinois fans won’t have to wait long for a decision. A commitment will build even more momentum heading into February. The Swami feels Reuben will be wearing Orange and Blue