EDGY's Western Illinois Leathernecks Grade: C
Western Illinois head coach Charlie Fisher was able to ink 24 names to his 2017 recruiting class, with five names calling the Illinois home. Western Illinois decided to go the variety pack route with this class, signing four defensive linemen but then spreading the class out over several positions.
Headliner Of The In-State Class?
Western Illinois was able to add some strong names on the offensive line. Galesburg offensive linemen Matt Ricketts, Simeon offensive linemen Fawaz Atoola (6-foot-4, 286 pounds) along with Montini Catholic Michael Ross (6-foot-2, 305 pounds). Ricketts was a four-year contributor and a three-year starter at Galesburg along with being an All-State player. Ross played both offensive and defensive line for Montini and showed well in college one-day camps. Ayoola has great size and length and is a a lean 286-pounder who will add more strength in Macomb.
The One Who Got Away?
Western Illinois was in on several in-state names. The Leathernecks had a very good shot with Freeport LB Zeke Vandenburgh, who also made an official visit to WIU. Vendenburgh ended up signing with Illinois State.
Final Thoughts on the Western Illinois Leathernecks Recruiting Class:
Western Illinois and head coach Charlie Fisher are looking to break out of the always rough Missouri Valley Conference "middle of the pack." The Leathernecks didn't finish well last season, losing four of their last five games to finish 6-5 overall and also missed a shot at the FCS playoff bid. However, WIU has also been a consistent winner over the past few seasons. This WIU Class of 2017 recruiting class does a good job of adding more depth to the roster and developing a few promising freshmen here.