EDGY's Panthers overall in-state recruiting grade: C-
Head coach Kim Dameron now has two recruiting classes under his belt since taking over the program. There’s no question that Eastern Illinois University is looking for a mix of in-state high school talent, incoming transfers from the D-1 level and out-of-state athletes to build a recruiting class. The Panthers also had a limited amount of available scholarships for the class of 2016, which undoubtedly impacted the overall number of signees last Wednesday.
Headliner Of The In-State Class?
Eastern Illinois had a real need in replacing four graduated starting defensive backs. Champaign Centennial's Julian Hess (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) has a chance to earn some early playing time right away. Hess has great speed and length and can play either as a bigger corner or safety when required. Marist running back Darshon McCullough (5-foot-9, 173 pounds) is also another headliner name who could make a quick early impact for the Panthers.
Sleeper of the In-State Class?
St. Rita offensive tackle Drew Walega (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) has the size, frame and upside to develop into a long-term answer for the Panthers offensive line. Most FCS schools seldom are able to secure recruits with the size/frame and overall physical pedigree of a player like Walega.
Final Thoughts on the Panthers Recruiting Efforts:
It's been interesting to watch the Panthers in-state approach so far under Dameron. Eastern Illinois became a nice surprise in 2015 and was able to get into the FCS playoffs. EIU targets speed and athletes regardless of location and that approach so far has brought success in Charleston.