Yesterday, Evan Panfil visited Illinois again. The Lincoln Way Central defensive end had camped over the summer and been to a game this year, each time leaving without an offer. Yesterday proved to be the day though, as he was offered and committed.
"I got there before the game and Coach Beckman brought me to his office, sat down with my mom and cousin, and extended me the offer."
From there, Panfil had the length of their game against Purdue to consider what he had been told, and ultimately, the 6'5, 230-lb prospect decided to accept it.
"I sat on it the whole game. They explained the factors that went into the defensive end position. They lose Mike Buchanan and Justin Staples, and there's a need for a defensive end, They told me they've overextended offers, a lot of people have offers, and time is of the essence. I'd been kind of waiting on Purdue, but I decided I can't wait around. I have a great thing at my feet, and I need to take it."
Time wasn't the only factor in the decision.
"They've been recruiting me hard all along. I felt wanted and needed there. I like what they're doing football wise, and they're great academically."
Being close to home and getting to play with other players from in-state was another part of Panfil's quick decision.
"It's huge," he said of location. "It's two hours down I-57, so not bad at all. That's really big for me. There are so many great factors about Illinois. I was telling people, they're not great on paper right now, but they've recruited the state really well, and the team next year will be a force to be reckoned with."
Panfil says he was told in a roundabout way that he would have a chance to compete for time. Watching yesterday's game and noticing only a few true freshmen out there, he is realistic about it.
"If I redshirt, I redshirt. Either way, whether I play or not, I'm going there to compete for a position. I'm not expecting anything. I know my place, and I'm just going to go compete."
In total, Panfil had ten offers, and there were indications that more could be coming, including Purdue, a place he had some ties to, but ultimately, he is happy he was given an option for which there were so many positives, that he only needed a couple of hours to decide.
"It's an honor. It's been my dream. Obviously, I've always had Purdue in the back of my head, but Illinois is even better. They've wanted me all along, and I appreciate that. It's great to have an offer to play for my state. It's huge and I'm still a little bit in awe. It is definitely crazy, but good at the same time."