Illinois Football: Illini flip Jerzhan “Johnny” Newton from Maryland

The Illinois football team picked up a huge commitment and signing today in the form of Jerzhan “Johnny” Newton.

The defensive tackle position is being addressed already. We have some talented players coming in from the class of 2020 who will help with those depth issues. But we needed to add some help to the end of the defensive line. That is where Newton comes into play.

Newton is a 6-foot-3, 255-pound strong-side defensive end from Clearwater Central Catholic High School and resides in Clearwater, Florida. He is rated as a three-star recruit who is the No. 821 player in the class of 2020 and the No. 42 strong-side defensive end in the nation. He is also the No. 94 player in the state of Florida.

This was a complete flip for the Illini. Newton committed to Maryland back in August 2019. Since then, he has drawn interest from big-time programs like Illinois. He took official visits to Kansas State, Georgia Tech and Illinois over the past few months. The Illini have won out, though. We were able to beat those programs out for this talented defensive lineman.

Newton now makes commitment No. 13 for the Illini. Six of the previously committed players have signed with the program already with more coming shortly. Getting Newton into the program is a big deal, though. He is an impact player early on in his career.

I see Newton coming in and redshirting year one. This gives him time to develop. He would then be a primary backup as a redshirt freshman. Lovie Smith would then unleash him as a redshirt sophomore. It wouldn’t shock me to see this kid start for three years.

Next: Illini defensive line gets stronger with Anthony Shipton signing

I love this get for the Illini. It shows that this coaching staff has done a great job on the recruiting trail. Let’s see who else they can sign over the next couple of months.

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