Illinois recruiting analysis


The class

Recruits: 27 (all high school seniors, no players enrolled early)

Top prospects: The wait was worth it for Illinois as ESPNU 150 athlete Jon Davis chose to sign with the Illini on national signing day. He's expected to play tight end in Champaign. Darrius Caldwell provides a jolt to Illinois' defensive front as he was rated as the nation's No. 26 defensive end by ESPN Recruiting. Defensive tackle Clint Tucker is another exciting prospect for the D-line, and Dondi Kirby should help Illinois in the secondary.

Needs met: Illinois loses several key players in the defensive front seven, including tackle Corey Liuget and linebacker Martez Wilson, and addressed both areas with six line recruits and two linebackers. Ron Zook targeted the offensive line as a need in the class and brought in five recruits there, and Illinois is excited running backs Josh Ferguson and Donovonn Young. The Illini needed a quarterback following Chandler Whitmer's departure and landed one in Reilly O'Toole.

Analysis: After a down year in recruiting in 2010, Illinois bounced back nicely with this year's class. The Illini didn't clean up within the state but did well in other regions, landing prospects like Davis (Kentucky), Caldwell (Georgia) and Kirby (Pennsylvania). It's a large class that should help the depth at several positions, namely offensive line, defensive line and the secondary. Illinois likely will need some defensive recruits to play soon, and several of these players look like they'll be able to do so.

ESPN Recruiting grade: B-