EDGY's Salukis Grade: C+
Southern Illinois fared pretty well in Nick Hill's second recruiting class. The Salukis, no question, made the Southern Illinois area a top priority in this recruiting class, and have been strong in keeping kids within their own footprint. Southern Illinois was able to add seven in-state recruits to their 27-member signing class, along with two post-secondary level players who also call Illinois home. The position emphasis for Hill was upfront on both sides of the football. The Salukis inked eight defensive linemen and five offensive linemen, and also added depth to several spots.
Headliner of the in-state class?
I really like a handful of players here, but both Edwardsville kids in offensive lineman Lucas Davis (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) and defensive lineman Tate Rujawitz (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) stand out from a very strong overall in-state class. Davis will need to add a bit more size and strength, but has a chance to become a long-term answer on the Salukis offensive line. Rujawitz played offensive line then converted over to defensive line last season. Southern Illinois has struggled at times up front on defense, and Rujawitz has the overall game to become a strong addition.
The one who got away?
Leyden defensive back Jalen Moore (5-foot-10, 155 pounds). Moore, a speedster who also plays wide receiver, was verbally committed to Southern Illinois, but didn't clear admissions. Currently, Moore is verbally committed to NAIA St. Francis in Joliet.
Final thoughts on the Salukis recruiting efforts:
One of the better in-state hires over the past few years has been former Saluki standout Hill as the Southern Illinois head coach. The 31-year-old Hill was an immediate hit with the area fans and alumni, and was able to show some real positives and progress in his first season. Most importantly, the Southern Illinois community has once again become excited for football.
No question, the Southern Illinois football program is in good hands and also trending up. The Class of 2017 undoubtedly adds some much-needed depth and is also a nice compliment to strong back-to-back recruiting classes for the Salukis.