Dre Brown’s face lit up Nov. 6 when he was on the phone with Univerity of Illinois tight ends coach Alex Golesh while his mother, Michele Stieren, looked on.
The Illini, Golesh informed the DeKalb sophomore running back, would be the first school to offer him a scholarship.
Brown and Stieren knew the offers would almost certainly come at some point, but they didn’t expect the first offer to come so early.
“You just never know,” Stieren said. “I definitely thought we would get stuff coming through over the summer, getting more letters of interest, camp invites, I was expecting it to come in. The offer, I think Dre said it was surreal, and it was.”
The recruiting process has slowly been picking up for the 5-foot-11, 185 pound running back over the past year, but he’s only talked to coaches from Minnesota, Illinois and Northern Illinois, where he regularly attended spring practices.
Just before the NIU-Toledo game Wednesday night, Brown posted on his Twitter account that he also received an offer from the Huskies.
Brown was in attendance for the game.
Brown also recently received a questionnaire from Wisconsin and a camp invitation from Cincinnatti. He hopes to garner more interest from coaches when the spring evaluation period begins in April.
If Brown signs a letter of intent as a senior in 2014, he would become the first DeKalb football player to receive a Division-1 scholarship since Andy Lothson at NIU more than 10 years ago.
“Especially since I got [the Illinois offer] early, some of the Midwest and the Big Ten schools, and probably some of the national schools, will start coming in my junior and senior years,” Brown said. “I just have to keep my grades up and keep doing good the next two years of football.”
Brown has visited Illinois three times, and he’s heading down to Champaign this weekend to see the Illini play Purdue.
“The campus is great and the facilities are great,” he said. “I like the coaching staff a lot. It comes down to winning more games. If they’re trying to rebuild, they’re probably going to need some of the in-state kids that go there.”
Brown isn’t sure when he’ll make a commitment, but he’s doing all he can to pick up more offers as soon as possible.
He decided not to play basketball this winter. Instead, he’ll focus on training, and he plans on attending the high profile Core 6 Showcase in Chicago in January.
After the early offer, Stieren and Brown are preparing for a wave of interest to begin forming.
“Once you’re on the radar and one school is looking at you, of course every school wants to know, what is this kid doing, what makes Illinois want to offer,” Stieren said. “I expect Dre’s highlights to be more viewed than ever, I expect Dre’s mailbox to, I hope, start filling up with the invites and the things that are going on in the spring and summer with the visits. You just never know. You hope people are looking.”