The Illinois football program had a big visit weekend starting on June 3, which resulted in three new commitments for the class of 2023.
Those three commitments gave the Illini eight pledges for 2023 and a national recruiting ranking of No. 39 in the nation. This is a great start to what should be a really solid class. Bret Bielema and his coaching staff are far from done with landing players for 2023, though.
Illinois now has another big group coming to Champaign this weekend starting on June 17. This group includes an already committed player in Antwon Hayden. He is a great East St. Louis linebacker who is ranked just outside of the top 1000 nationally.
There are other big names coming to town this weekend as well. Christopher Terek is the highest-rated recruit. He is a three-star offensive tackle who is ranked as the No. 620 player in the class of 2023. Zachary Tobe and Famah Toure are also visiting and they are the No. 827 and No. 905 players in the class of 2023, respectively. Tobe is a talented safety and Toure is going to be catching passes on offense as a wide receiver.
I also want to point out Mason Muragin and Jaheim Clark. They aren’t in the top 1000, but by just looking at their scholarship offers, you can tell these players are power-five quality. Muragin as an edge rusher and Clarke as a safety will both help the defense tremendously.
Illinois football has a chance to have an elite-level recruiting class in 2023.
There is a legit possibility Illinois’ class of 2023 is the best group of players we have brought in since the Ron Zook era.
Zook was fired in 2011. Let that sink in for a moment.
Bielema took the reins of the football program and put us on the map with recruiting. His first recruiting class was ranked No. 46 in the nation. Over the past decade, having a top 50 class was a rarity. I believe it had only happened two different times.
In the first season Bielema was head coach, he made Illinois a respectable program again. We had an overall record of 5-7 and a Big Ten record of 4-5. While it isn’t a bowl game, I can look at those records and confidently say we are heading in the right direction.
Even in the losses Illinois had in 2021, only two were by more than 10 points. There used to be seasons where the Illini would get pounded by 20+ points in numerous games. Now it is a rarity we aren’t in a game down the stretch.
I am impressed with the viability of the Illinois football program. The class of 2023 is going to continue strengthening what we have going on in Champaign. If Bielema can lead us to 5-7 with a roster that isn’t his, just imagine what we can do with stacked classes that are ranked inside the top 50.