Lovie Smith said when he was hired that it was his goal to make recruiting waves in Chicago, St. Louis and Texas.

Smith did just that in a big way on Friday.

Texas defensive tackle Calvin Avery gave his verbal commitment to Illinois, which gave the Illini its first four-star commitment of the Smith era.

Illinois was believed to have made a serious late push to land Avery’s commitment. The 247sports crystal ball had the Bishop Dunne (Dallas) recruit at 93 percent to TCU.

Avery is rated the No. 18 defensive tackle and the No. 188 recruit overall in the 2018 class. He has offers from Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, USC and others.

Illinois hasn’t signed a recruit rated higher than Avery since Aaron Bailey in 2013. Illinois also hasn’t signed a four-star recruit since Gabe Megginson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn joined the 2015 class.

So what was it that pushed Avery to Illinois?

With Avery on board, Illinois’ top two commitments are both from Bishop Dunne. Illinois is up to 12 commitments in its 2018 class.

Smith might’ve celebrated Friday night’s a bit more, though.