Despite living in the heart of Big Ten country, five-star prospect Terry Beckner Jr. has shown serious interest in the SEC. The East Saint Louis, Ill., native has received offers from seven SEC schools, with Missouri as an early favorite to land the prized recruit.

The Tigers have received 74 percent of the 247Sports “crystal ball” predictions and will host an official visit in January. Auburn and LSU are also being considered, as well as Ohio State and FSU.

Beckner ranks as the No. 16 overall prospect, No. 3 strong-side defensive end and the No. 1 player from Illinois for the 2015 class. Should he commit, Beckner would continue the recent tradition of Missouri’s standout pass rushers, which includes back-to-back SEC defensive player of the year winners Michael Sam and Shane Ray.

With Ray expected to declare for the NFL draft, as well as the departure of senior Markus Golden, Beckner has a chance to receive early playing time in Columbia for the reigning SEC East champions. The 6-foot-4, 293-pound pass rusher’s best attributes are his frame, hand quickness and point of attack. However, Beckner received an eight or higher in each 247Sports skill category.

“It’s a very nice school,” Beckner told 247Sports after visiting Missouri, the only campus he visited this summer. “Real nice school. Their facilities, the weight room and when I saw the indoor facility it was nice.”

Missouri also has the edge in geographical distance by comparison to its SEC counterparts. Though it is not a deciding factor, the campus’ short distance from Beckner’s hometown does play to its advantage.

“It’s not that important,” Beckner said. “But I want people to be able to come see my games, family and coaches. I don’t want to go that far, but if I go far I’m going to go wherever I like.”