The Illinois football program is beginning to build its future under a new head coach, as they made an offer to Florida’s Isaiah Taylor.
Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becomes one of the first players under the Bret Bielema regime to receive an offer from the Illini. The Orange and Blue are looking to start fresh after Lovie Smith’s departure from the Illini on December 19, hitting the recruiting trail almost immediately.
Taylor attends St. Thomas Aquinas High School and holds offers from a plethora of schools. Including Illinois, Air Force, Coastal Carolina, Florida International, and Florida Atlantic have expressed interest in the senior, though he has not committed anywhere just yet.
Taylor’s squad was able to compete as scheduled in the fall, despite the ongoing global pandemic. Ranked as the No. 2 team in the state, the Raiders dominated its regular-season schedule, finishing 3-1.
After four games, the playoffs would officially begin just before Thanksgiving weekend. Once they began, the team was on a mission for a state title. On its road to the championship, the Raiders would thoroughly defeat Lehigh 50-14 and Manatee in a shutout, 45-0.
The Raiders would eventually reach the 2020 FHSAA Football State Championship, edging out Edgewater on December 19, 31-21, capping off a near-perfect season for one of the state’s most consistent winners.
Isaiah Taylor is not ranked by 247Sports.
Though Taylor is not ranked by any of the major recruiting sites, he was an intricate part of a defense that forced consistent turnovers which led to points in every game. In the playoffs, the Raiders only surrendered 36 points on their way to a state title, making them a tough task to conquer for the opposition.
Nearly every highlight of Taylor is him retrieving an interception or going in for a touchdown. He is certainly an underrated playmaker who could change the course of a game at any time and help those around him become better.
Let’s see if the Illini can snag an unknown winner and bring him along in the rebuilding process for 2021.