Saturday was an important day in the recruitment of Evan Panfil. Then committed to Illinois, the 6'5, 230-lb defensive end from Lincoln Way Central found out Illini defensive line coach Keith Gilmore would no longer be his position coach, and that lead to a switch in commitment to the Purdue Boilermakers.
"Coach Gilmore leaving and going to North Carolina, he was a big reason I wanted to stay there. Even when the coaching search was going on, and it was rumored, I at least wanted one year with him, that's how much I think of him. Purdue offered me two weeks ago and it was hard not to take it. It was tough to tell [Illinois] that. They weren't very happy with it, but I'm making the right choice."
Panfil has family ties to Purdue as his mom went to school there and his uncle and grandfather both played football there.
"It's really really special for me. Hopefully I can help make an impact, but I'm excited and it's quite special."
As for early playing time, he admits that was not a part of his decision.
"We haven't really talked about it. Coach Hudson, who deal with most, the defensive coordinator from Kent State, wasn't too familiar with the situation there. I looked into it myself. There was a big concern with it for Purdue. With Illinois, they graduate all four up front, where Purdue had younger guys playing, so that's kind of an issue, but I just want to go out there and compete. From what they tell me about the situation, they utilize the defensive ends a lot."
Usually a commitment means a weight off a young man's shoulders, and National Signing Day, a very special day for high school recruits, is coming up soon. Hopefully, by then, the stress will be off for Panfil, as right now, he is still feeling burdened by the switch he had to make.
"I'm still a little bit stressed out, getting calls from Illinois still, Purdue as well. I'm a loyal person and wanted to make the best out of Illinois, and it was tough telling them I was not going to come there. It's going to feel good to sign and get this over with. Signing Day is supposed to be the greatest time in your life, but it's been quite stressful."