In a surprising turn of events on Monday afternoon, the Illinois football team lost a player from the class of 2021.
Illinois’ class of 2021 is looking pretty solid. The program has pinpointed specific players who could help this team win in the future. But the Illini lost one of those players on Monday when Theodore Lockley decided to back out of his commitment.
Lockley is a 6-foot, 175-pound athlete from Mainland High School and resides in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is rated as a three-star recruit who is the No. 1412 player in the class of 2021 and the No. 100 athlete in the nation. He is also the No. 197 player in the state of Florida.
Respect my decision!💯 RECRUITMENT 100% OPEN pic.twitter.com/tWp09VhRNA
— ⚡️FLASH⚡️ (@LockleyTheodore) July 27, 2020
Back when Lockley originally committed to Illinois, I loved the kid’s speed and what he could bring to the field. He had the ability to be a solid, quick, player for the program. His game isn’t refined, but he has playmaking ability.
How does this affect the Illinois roster?
Lockley backing away gives the Illini another scholarship for someone who wants to be in Champaign. I believe we have roughly 74 out of the 85 scholarships spoken for in 2021. There is plenty of room left for Illinois to land some more big fish.
I had Lockley taking a redshirt in year one. He was going to be fourth-string on the depth chart at wide receiver. Having him depart doesn’t hurt the Illini in the short-term, but it could affect the team in a couple of years if we fail to land any more wide receivers for 2021.
The departure of Lockley really didn’t affect Illinois’ recruiting ranking either. I believe they were No. 56 in the nation before he backed away, and now the Illini are No. 57 in the nation. So, this tiny bump in the road didn’t do much to the national standing when it comes to recruiting.
Overall, the departure of Lockley could have an effect on the wide receiver depth in a few years. But, most likely, this will end up just being a blip on the radar for the program. Let’s see who is next to join the fight in 2021.