8. Illinois Fighting Illini
Class Total: 24 players
5* players: 0
4* players: 2
3* players: 18
Illinois did some nice work in this class, and finally head coach Tim Beckman won a big fish out of the home state. Getting Gabe Megginson locked in over the likes of Wisconsin and Iowa was a huge win, and it led to easily the best class Beckman has put together at Illinois.
Megginson’s commitment led to him becoming the biggest cheerleader for the university among his fellow recruits and he became a de facto extra recruiter for the Illini.
Beckman landing 4-star running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who was the No. 27-ranked running back in the country, was a huge coup as well. He was one of three big commitments for the Illini on national signing day alone. Joining Vaughn to sign on February 4th were also high 3-star defensive tackle Jamal Milan and 3-star cornerback Cameron Watkins. Add in winning a battle with the likes of Wisconsin and Minnesota for Trenard Davis and you have easily the beset recruiting job of the Beckman era.
Still, this class has a long way to go to get to the top and Beckman still needs to prove he can take improving natural talent and make a really improving team out of it. There are lots of pieces to like about this class, but we’re still in wait and see mode.