Illini land tight end
GURNEE — Caleb Reams wanted to announce his college choice the same day he played the first game of his senior year for Gurnee (Ill.) Warren High School.
But he couldn’t hold off until the Blue Devils’ home opener on Aug. 29 against LaGrange (Ill.) Lyons Township High School.
Reams orally committed to Illinois on Saturday night, becoming the 13th commit in the class for Tim Beckman’s program.
“I’ve been committed to Illinois since June 20,” Reams said. “I wanted to wait until our first game, but I just couldn’t any longer.”
Reams caught 25 passes for 592 yards and eight touchdowns last fall for Warren, which went 7-4.
He is the fifth in-state player to commit to Illinois, joining Champaign Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald, DeKalb running back Dre Brown, Jacksonville offensive lineman Gabe Megginson and Chicago Hales Franciscan defensive back Pat Nelson.
He is the 12th offensive player to commit in the class, and first since Houston Kinkaid wide receiver Sam Mays did so on July 6.
Reams is the second tight end for Illinois in the class.
Iowa Western Community College’s Andrew Davis committed two months ago.
Reams, a former Western Michigan commit who decommited from the Broncos, held offers from Bowling Green, Syracuse, Toledo, Wake Forest and Western Michigan.
He said Wake Forest and Western Michigan made it into his final three list of schools, along with Illinois.
“It’s a great fit for me to be playing in that offense,” the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Reams said. “It works out perfectly. I feel like I can learn a lot from watching Jon Davis play this season. That’s what they want me to do when I get there, and I think it works for my skill set.”
Former Illinois offensive line coach A.J. Ricker was the first Illini assistant to recruit Reams.
When Ricker left to take the same job at Missouri last month, tight ends coach Alex Golesh and new Illinois offensive line coach Tom Brattan helped spearhead efforts to land Reams.
“I felt like Western Michigan was a great program, and they’re going to be good within the next year or two,” Reams said. “I just didn’t feel like it would have been a school I would have liked if football wasn’t in the picture.”
Reams said he is not planning on enrolling early at Illinois, planning to sign with the Illini on National Signing Day in early February.
“It’s a great relief,” Reams said. “The process is so stressful. People just see that you’re in a jersey and that you’re at a school, but it is so stressful. I’m so glad it’s done.”