Lovie Smith has been busy assembling his coaching staff the last few days, but he's evidently had some time to contact recruits. His first scholarship offer as head coach was reported on Wednesday, and it was issued to class-of-2017 linebacker DeCalon Brooks (Tampa Bay, FL).
Extremely Blessed to receive an offer from University of Illinois pic.twitter.com/f2aL2OOT8P— DeCalon Brooks (@DBrooks_28) March 9, 2016
DeCalon, who's the son of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, is rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports; he currently holds scholarship offers from Florida State (his father's alma mater), Louisville, Florida International, and South Florida. The five-foot-ten, 200-pound prospect recently visited the Seminoles for their Junior Day.
Lovie was Derrick Brooks' linebacker coach in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000, so he obviously has a pre-established relationship with the family.
The Fighting Illini currently have two verbal commitments lined up for 2017. One of them -- three-star running back Mike Epstein -- appears to have already conversed with Smith over the phone.
Great conversation with Coach Lovie Smith tonight!— Mike Epstein (@Dat26Kid) March 10, 2016
2017 Illinois Football Recruiting Class