EDGY's Fighting Illini grade: D
Needless to say, seeing Illinois sign two in-state names out of their list of 25 recruits was surprising. Illinois was expected to add at least 6-7 in-state names. However, a combination of decommitments along with having a handful of expected names that didn’t get past the Illinois admissions department narrowed down the in-state group even more than expected.
Headliner Of The In-State Class?
Lincoln-Way East offensive lineman Kurt Gavin (6-foot-4, 290 pounds). Gavin, ranked as a three star recruit by Rivals.com, is a technically sound linemen who has a chance to earn early playing time for the Illini. I feel he has the potential to become a long-term contributor for the Fighting Illini.
[RELATED - 2016 National Signing Day: Recruiting tracker]
The One Who Got Away?
East St. Louis three star-ranked offensive guard Trevour Simms was originally committed to the Fighting Illini. But in December, he made an official visit to Missouri and flipped his decision to the Tigers. Simms struggled with his final choice up until Tuesday and signed with Missouri on Wednesday. Despite Illinois adding East St. Louis safety Stanley Green to this signing class, Missouri has been able to secure a steady pipeline to top ranked East St. Louis players despite a ton of Illinois connections within and around the Flyers program.
Final Thoughts on the Fighting Illini's Recruiting Efforts:
It’s not easy being a Fighting Illini fan these days. I don't think anyone that has followed Illinois football or Fighting Illini sports in general should be surprised at the overall outcome in this class. With what seems to be a constant flow of negative headlines and issues, in-state players and parents haven't seen too many positives with Illinois athletics. One positive for Bill Cubit’s program is that the in-state 2016 class, from an overall talent standpoint, was also down. Illinois was able to finish much better with out of state recruits and they have already gotten off to a fast start for the Class of 2017 in-state class, having offered over 25 players. I'm hoping this will be the bottom of what will become a resurgence for the Illinois football program.