EDGY's Eastern Illinois Panthers Grade: C
Eastern Illinois and head coach Kim Dameron were able to sign 20 names in the Panthers' 2017 class, including five Illinois high school players. Eastern Illinois was able to fill in some depth at multiple positions with offensive line being a slight focus. The Panthers have been hovering slightly about the overall winning mark for the past few seasons. Hopefully this class, along with a veteran roster back in 2017, will help EIU get toward the top of the Ohio Valley and back into the FCS playoffs.
Headliner Of The In-State Class?
Eastern Illinois was able to bring in some solid names here, but from an upside/down-the-line-potential I'm a big fan of Phillips offensive linemen Johari Branch (6-foot-3, 295 pounds). Branch has terrific size, quickness and length and was impressive at various one-day camps this past summer. Belleville Althoff wide receiver/defensive back Edwyn Brown (6-foot-5, 180 pounds) might be one of the more intriguing names in this class. Brown has great size and length and could develop down the line and into a potential steal.
The One Who Got Away?
Eastern Illinois offered two terrific in-state recruits in Rochester wide receiver Avante Cox along with Belleville Althoff wide receiver C.J. Coldon. Both Cox and Coldon wound up signing with Wyoming.
Final Thoughts on the Eastern Illinois Panthers Recruiting Class:
Eastern Illinois was able to go out and bring in some in-state names to its 2017 class who have a chance down the road to become contributors. I would love to see EIU hit the high school/in-state numbers a bit harder, including seeing a better overall percentage of in-state signings. Yet the Panthers have been winning games and use their out-of-state recruiting connections, FBS and FCS transfers and incoming freshman names well so far under Dameron.
Despite the various issues, the Panthers have been competitive and playing winning football. EIU was actually off to a strong start in 2016, going 5-2 with wins over Miami of Ohio and Illinois State. EIU lost three of its last four games to end the year 6-5. With a deep and veteran roster returning in 2017, plus a solid 2017 class just signed, look for EIU to again challenge for an FCS playoff spot in 2017.