With spring practice now finished for the Illini, Lovie Smith and his staff are continuing to work on the recruiting trail. He looks to build off a 2018 class which was ranked 55th nationally by 247Sports and saw two four-star players, Verdis Brown and Calvin Avery, join the Fighting Illini.
In five commitments for 2019, Illinois has already seen themselves get one five-star and one four-star player. Isaiah Williams is a five-star player out of Trinity Catholic High School in Saint Louis, Missouri, ranked 34th nationally by 247Sports, and his position is labeled an athlete. Next, Marquez Beason is a four-star player from Bishop Dunne in Dallas, Texas, ranked 59th nationally, also labeled an athlete.
Williams, though, figures to compete for a spot at quarterback in Champaign. With new offensive coordinator Rod Smith bringing an up-tempo and no-huddle spread offense look that he learned under the guidance of Rich Rodriguez, Williams seems to be the perfect fit for the quarterback position. He already has the ability to scramble and escape pressure if need be. If Williams is able to develop as a passer he has the ability to be the quarterback of the future for Lovie Smith and the Illini.
Beason could potentially play at wide receiver or cornerback depending on where head coach Lovie Smith wants him to play. If he plays receiver, he could build relationships with the young Illini quarterbacks and create a formidable tandem for years to come.
Other recruits include three-star cornerback Bryce Childress from Trinity Catholic in Saint Louis, Missouri, three-star cornerback Joseph Thompson from Phillips Academy in Chicago, Illinois, and three-star tight end Griffin Moore from Bloomington, Illinois.
Bryce Childress and Joseph Thompson are both young and talented cornerbacks that will give Illinois depth at a position that will be key for their defense moving forward if they want to win conference games. Having players who could play on the outside and defend the pass are extremely important in the Big Ten due to the quality quarterbacks and receivers that the Illini will face every game.
Griffin Moore gives Lovie Smith yet another option at tight end to potentially help out in the pass blocking and receiving game. With the bevy of young tight ends currently on the roster, Moore will have a lot of time to develop under the coaching staff at Illinois and could play an integral part in the Illini’s future.
Lovie Smith brought in two players from the 2018 recruiting class from Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas, Texas; four-star defensive tackle Calvin Avery and three-star offensive guard Kievan Myers. With four-star athlete Marquez Beason committing to Illinois from Bishop Dunne, Smith and his staff are doing a good job of recruiting that high school for talent that can help their football program.
Another high school that Lovie Smith and his staff are heavily recruiting is Trinity Catholic High School in Saint Louis, Missouri, as two recruits from the 2019 class are from there. I believe that the hiring of tight ends coach Cory Patterson, who used to be the head coach at Trinity Catholic High School, is one of the reasons the Illini are having so much success recruiting from there.
It is clear that after five commitments in the 2019 class, Lovie Smith and the Illini are building relationships with high school programs in an effort to consistently get players from the same schools. Having those connections, as well as having a good staff behind him, head coach Lovie Smith is off to a tremendous start with his 2019 recruiting class as the Illini continue to build a foundation for the future of their football program.
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Feature Photo Credit:Photo Credit: Associated Press