The Class of 2017 in the State of Illinois was a good, blue collar roster builder group. While the Class of 2017 had just a handful of highly ranked names this in-state class overall was also a very good and deep class overall. The defensive linemen, offensive linemen and wide receivers remained the deepest positions in this class.
East St. Louis standout wide receiver is heading to the U. East St. Louis four-star ranked wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) made his college choice known on live national television, pledging to the University of Miami. Thomas seems to lock in on the Hurricanes after his late January official visit and remained the consensus team to beat.
Illinois and head coach Lovie Smith had a good day. The Fighting Illini had a strong Class of 2017 especially from an in-state perspective. The Illinois class included eight players from the home state led by Brother Rice four-star ranked wide receiver Ricky Smalling. The Fighting Illini added much needed depth in a handful of key spots and the group as a whole is at a much higher talent level compared to the past few classes.
Northern Illinois also fared well. The Huskies also added some nice talent in state in this Class of 2017 group. Homewood-Flossmoor senior wide receiver Ty Richie (6-foot-2, 19-0 pounds) is a potential game breaker while St. Charles North offensive tackle Isaac Hawn (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) could contribute early. Immaculate Conception three-star ranked running back Jordan Rowell (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) decommitted from the Huskies earlier this summer but eventually found his way back to DeKalb.
Northwestern? The Wildcats Class of 2017 was limited to two in-state scholarship players and three preferred walk-ons out of Northwestern's 26 name recruiting class. A concern? No. The Wildcats in-state scope was very limited due to the very low amount of high profiles names who could pass Northwestern admissions, and the Wildcats staff knew this at this same time last year. Several names who signed letters of intent today across the State of Illinois Class of 2017 are by no means a lock to wind up clearing admissions.
Grades do matter. While several names have struggled with academic issues, a handful of names in-state Class of 2017 passed up "bigger" level scholarship offers instead "settling" on schools that fit better academically. Marist three-star ranked linebacker Micah Awodiran will attend Yale in the fall and turning away 29 combined FBS and FCS offers. Montini Catholic defensive tackle Joe Spivak accepted a preferred walk-on spot from Northwestern, his dream school. Spivak, who had 19 combined FBS and FCS level offers, also received a last minute full scholarship offer from Michigan State. Spivak, whose father Joe was also a walk-up at Illinois State and a two-time All American for the Redbirds decided to keep his commitment to Northwestern. And Libertyville two-star ranked offensive tackle Tyler Jost, who drew nearly 20 offers before deciding to commit to Yale.
Best name ever? Illinois State drew national attention today as the Redbirds inked Lawrence, Kansas offensive tackle Koby Buffalomeat (6-foot-7, 285 pounds). Buffalomeat was one of seven total Illinois State offensive linemen recruits signed Wednesday.