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:
With Micah Awodiran’s recent commitment to Yale the bulldogs have entered the top 10. School #1 is still my clearcut favorite here with an abundance of quality recruits. While schools #2-5 feature elite talent, some with higher ceilings than others, but all have an argument to be #2 on this list. Schools #6-10 also landed some impact players to help their programs and have a case to be higher on this list.
1. Western Michigan
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.
|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|
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.
|2||Ivory Kelly-Martin||RB||Oswego East||5’11″||175 lbs|
|3||Camron Harrell||S||Bradley-Bourbonnais||5’11″||180 lbs|
3. Michigan State
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.
|1||Kevin Jarvis||OT||Maine South||6’5″||340 lbs|
|2||Jacub Panasiuk||DE||Lake Park||6’3″||265 lbs|
4. Notre Dame
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.
|1||Cole Kmet||TE||St. Viator||6’6″||240 lbs|
|2||Isaiah Robertson||WR/S||Neuqua Valley||6’3″||200 lbs|
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.
|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
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.
|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|
Awodiran’s August commitment gives the Bulldogs two hard hitting and high upside defenders.
Micah Awodiran is the best LB out of Illinois and passed up B1G 10, SEC, ACC and Big 12 offers to join Yale. He could play early and often for the Bulldogs.
Chris Sampleton is a gamer winning back to back state championships and is as mean as they come.
|1||Micah Awodiran||MLB||Marist||6’1″||210 lbs|
|2||Chris Sampleton||DE||Nazareth||6’3″||225 lbs|
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.
|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|
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.
|1||Logan Christopherson||TE||Lemont||6’6″||225 lbs|
|2||Reyondous Estes||QB||East St. Louis||6’0″||170 lbs|
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.