Iowa began cultivating a relationship with Rylie Mills early in the process. It’s a good thing it did because the talented sophomore defensive end has seen his recruitment take off.

The Lake Forest (IL) High Class of 2020 member has picked up scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Many others have taken notice.

Mills has been visiting campuses recently, getting to better know some of his suitors. He stopped at Iowa’s junior day on Sunday.

“I liked hearing from the players about how they felt about the program and how they feel prepared for life after football,” he told HN.

Assistant Seth Wallace has been leading the Hawkeyes’ recruitment of Mills (6-5, 255). They furthered their bond during the visit.

Troy Mills, Rylie’s father, spent time talking with Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. Both men played football at UConn. Kristina Mills, Rylie’s mother, played volleyball for the Huskies.

“We also talked about their philosophy on red shirting freshmen and where they saw me on the defensive line,” Rylie said. “I learned they have a four-man front and what kind of pass rush moves they work on.

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“I didn’t get a chance to talk with (defensive line) coach (Reese) Morgan one on one, but I got to hear the way he interacts with the athletes.”

Mills enjoyed his time with the Hawkeyes but he’s a long way from making a decision as it stands now. He and his parents have a plan in mind on how they’ll be proceeding through the recruiting process.

“I’m still learning about schools and my parents and I have talked that after my junior year we’re going to then become more serious in narrowing down schools. I’ll narrow down to my Top 5 choices and then once my senior season is over I will narrow it down to a Top 3 and make my choice from there,” he said.

Mills is set to visit Northwestern this coming weekend. After that, he’ll try to see as many campuses as possible.

“My parents and I are still figuring out schools to visit and learn more about schools I haven’t been to,” he said.

Though he has time to decide and things can change, Mills is considering majoring in Business Entrepreneurship when he gets to college.

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Sophomore standout from Texas likes what he sees at Iowa.

“I’ve taken a couple business classes in my high school and I had a good experience,” he said.

Rivals and 247 have yet to rank Mills, but you can expect those ratings to rise with his offer list, and exposure he’ll receive on the spring and summer camp and combine circuits.

Here’s a look at Mills’ sophomore highlights: