2017 Preseason College Winners

While featuring some of the top players in the state of Illinois, this article is meant to rank which colleges had the best recruiting classes out of Illinois.

Please note: due to future college commitments this list may change in the future

Overall Quick Take:
Even with Estes flip to Missouri, School #1 is my clearcut favorite here with an abundance of quality recruits. Schools #2-5 feature elite talent, some with higher ceilings than others, but all have an argument to be #2 on this list. Schools #6-9 also landed some impact players to help their programs.

1. Western Michigan

Quick Take:
Talent across the board at almost all positions with 9 top recruits.
The agile Prince Walker has the ability to be an impact RB for the Broncos.
Chris Elmore is big, mean and one of the more underrated DT in this class.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Prince Walker RB Montini 5’9″ 175 lbs
2 John Michael Schmitz OG Homewood-Flossmoor 6’4″ 280 lbs
3 Marcus Hayes CB/ATH Rockford East 5’11″ 185 lbs
4 Trevor Campbell OT Naperville Central 6’4″ 275 lbs
5 Chris Bell WR Bishop McNamara 6’1″ 180 lbs
6 Dylan Deatherage OT Bishop McNamara 6’5″ 270 lbs
7 Noah Hickcox DE Boylan Central Catholic 6’4″ 280 lbs
8 Chris Elmore DT Phillips 6’0″ 280 lbs

2. Iowa

Quick Take:
While featuring only 3 top prospects from Illinois, Coach Ferentz and co’s recruiting class from Illinois is still exceptional.
A.J. Epenesa could be playing on Sundays in a few years. His ceiling is that high.
He’ll have to put on a few lb’s to be a workhorse back, but Ivory Kelly-Martin is an elite talent that has the speed, agility and strength to be an every down back for the Hawkeyes.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 A.J. Epenesa DE Edwardsville 6’5″ 260lbs
2 Ivory Kelly-Martin RB Oswego East 5’11″ 175 lbs
3 Camron Harrell S Bradley-Bourbonnais 5’11″ 180 lbs

3. Michigan State

Quick Take:
Coach Dantonio and the Spartans nabbed 2 high quality prospects out of Illinois and I am very high on both of them.
Not only does Kevin Jarvis almost already have the size, length and natural knee bend to play in the NFL, he is also much more athletic than he looks. Watch out for this kid.
Impact DE Jacub Panasiuk joins his brother and a loaded Michigan State front.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Kevin Jarvis OT Maine South 6’5″ 340 lbs
2 Jacub Panasiuk DE Lake Park 6’3″ 265 lbs

4. Notre Dame

Quick Take:
Brian Kelly and company are adding 2 studs from Illinois to their team.
Cole Kmet is a top 10 TE in the nation with exceptional length, long arms and soft hands.
Isaiah Robertson is a 2 way standout with great athletic ability. He truly could end up playing either WR or S for the Irish.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Cole Kmet TE St. Viator 6’6″ 240 lbs
2 Isaiah Robertson WR/S Neuqua Valley 6’3″ 200 lbs

5. Illinois

Quick Take:
Lovie Smith wasted no time on the recruiting trail getting 5 quality recruits for U of I.
With his speed, route running ability and soft hands, Ricky Smalling has a chance to make an impact at WR very early for the Illini.
With some D1 coaching Vederian Lowe has the length, size and strength to turn into a quality Big Ten OL.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Ricky Smalling WR Brother Rice 6’1″ 190 lbs
2 Kendall Smith WR/ATH Bolingbrook 6’1″ 170 lbs
3 Vederian Lowe OT Auburn 6’5″ 340 lbs
4 Cam Thomas QB Marian Catholic 6’3″ 180 lbs
5 Marc Mondesir OLB St. Rita 6’2″ 210 lbs

6. Northern Illinois

Quick Take:
Coach Carey and crew did very well nabbing 8 quality prospects in Illinois.
Jordan Rowell has the size, strength and speed to make in impact in short order for the Huskies.
Jawon Denton is very raw, but with some added LBs and D1 coaching, he could turn out to be a huge sleeper for NIU.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Jordan Rowell RB Immaculate Conception 6’2″ 190 lbs
2 Isaac Hawn OT St. Charles North 6’6″ 285 lbs
3 Jawon Denton DE Morgan Park 6’3″ 200 lbs
4 Cole Tucker WR DeKalb 6’2″ 180 lbs
5 Jordan Nettles RB Romeoville 5’9″ 180 lbs
6 Dexter Warren S Phillips 6’0″ 165 lbs
7 Weston Kramer DT Marmion 6’2″ 275 lbs
8 Michael Kennedy RB Mount Carmel 6’1″ 190 lbs

7. Navy

Quick Take:
Coach Niumatalolo and Navy are getting 3 great athletes from Illinois.
Owen Piche has the athletic ability to excel at TE, WR, LB or S for the Midshipmen.
Jackson Perkins has quick feet, a nose for the ball and looks like a slim version of J.J. Watt. Don’t sleep on this kid.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Owen Piche LB/ATH Neuqua Valley 6’3″ 200 lbs
2 Jackson Perkins DE Barrington 6’5″ 230 lbs
3 Blake Holley LB Barrington 6’1″ 215 lbs

8. Missouri

Quick Take:
New HC Barry Odom did very well with his first recruiting class nabbing 2 high upside recruits from Illinois.
Logan Christopherson is a massive tight end with a ceiling nearly as high as anyone on this list.
In a shortened season Reyondous Estes still showed off his dual threat ability, great arm, and ability to make quick reads. Nice get for Missouri and company.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Logan Christopherson TE Lemont 6’6″ 225 lbs
2 Reyondous Estes QB East St. Louis 6’0″ 170 lbs

9. Northwestern

Quick Take:
The Wildcats are getting 2 quality Big Ten prospects out of Illinois.
Cameron Ruiz will need to put on some pounds, but shows great cover skills and exceptional quickness at CB.
Jace James shows great hands and even better body control adjusting to the football.

# Name Pos High School Ht Wt
1 Cameron Ruiz CB Lakes Community 5’10″ 165 lbs
2 Jace James WR Glenbard North 6’0″ 185 lbs