Teams & Conferences

2017 Illinois Fighting Illini Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Breakdown

2017 Illinois Fighting Illini Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Breakdown

The 2017 Illinois Fighting Illini Recruiting Class. The basic overview of the class, the best area of strength, what you need to know if you don’t care about recruiting, the star, and the depth chart hole going into the season.

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Classes and rankings to be updated and adjusted on National Signing Day, Wednesday, February 1

Illinois Fighting Illini Recruiting Class Overview

Illinois actually hasn’t been all that bad at recruiting over the last few years. You might not know or realize it, but it was strong a few years ago, took a dip after all the craziness of last year, and now is doing on okay job with Lovie Smith getting the time to start working. There aren’t four-and-five-star types like there were during the Ron Zook years, but there are enough good players coming in to hope for a change over the next few years.

Kendrick Green is a great-looking – if slightly undersized – defensive tackle from close by, while LB Delshawn Phillips comes in from the JUCO ranks with future leading tackler written all over him. It’s a class loaded with variety – Lovie’s bringing in two decent quarterbacks, while also beefing up the interiors of both lines – but the real shining stars are the …

The Illinois Fighting Illini Class Is Heavy On …

Wide receivers. Ricky Smalling is a big, fast target out of Chicago who could turn into the No. 1 target in a hurry for a team desperate for deep threat playmakers. Louis Dorsey is a 6-6, 220-pound physical receiver out of Jacksonville, while Carmoni Green is a big option out of Miami to go along with the 6-1 Kendall Smith out of suburban Chicago. Smith clearly wanted very big, very imposing wide receivers, and he got them.

The Star of the Illinois Fighting Illini Class Is …

DT Kendrick Green, 6-3, 275, Peoria, IL – What he’s missing in bulk he makes up for in defensive end athleticism and quickness. He’s an interior pass rusher who might just be the new star for a head coach who knows how to get production out of defensive tackles. No one’s saying Green will be like a Tommie Harris or a Gerald McCoy – just two of the DT superstars in the Smith NFL life – but he could be extremely disruptive.

The Illinois Fighting Illini Biggest 2017 Depth Chart Hole Is …

Defensive end. The offensive line, receiving corps, and defensive back seven have to find several key new starters – no big deal there – but the big issue is on the defensive front after losing NFL talent Dawuane Smoot at one end and Carroll Phillips at the other. Three of the key reserves are gone off the line, too, not having the 23 of the 28 sacks are gone without Smoot, Phillips, Gimel President and Chunky Clements. Uh oh.