- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Pickerington (Ohio) Central junior and ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end/linebacker Taco Charlton spoke with Illinois for the first time Monday, and the conversation ended with an offer.
“We were talking on Facebook and he messaged me and told me about the offer,” Charlton said. “He said how they used to coach at Toledo and just got the job at Illinois and wanted to let me know I had an offer.”
The online conversation didn’t last long and the Illini staff didn’t elaborate much to Charlton, who now has nine offers. Charlton plans to speak with the staff again sometime soon.
The new Illini regime led by coach Tim Beckman was not recruiting Charlton while at Toledo either, so this is the first time Charlton has heard from the staff in general. He has a little familiarity with Illinois through watching them on TV.
“I’ve always watched them on the Big Ten Network, and I know they have a new coaching staff coming in and they’re definitely trying to change the vibes and get back to when they had Juice [Williams] at quarterback,” Charlton said.
Pickerington Central lost in the Division I state championship in early December, and since then Charlton has been playing basketball for the high school while working out three times a week for football.
After missing the first game of the basketball season, Charlton does not want to miss any more and decided not to make it to any of the three major combines in early January. He also isn’t planning to make any visits to colleges until the spring.
Charlton reports added interest from Ohio State since new coach Urban Meyer took over. He’s talked with the new staff on Facebook more frequently than he did during the season.
“He was telling me he wants me to come down for a visit sometime in January once they get the new staff and get a look at everyone there,” Charlton said of his conversation with one of the coaches.
Charlton's eighth offer came on Dec. 23 from Nebraska, and Kentucky and Michigan State could be his next two offers, he said.
451dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert