Illinois football has been close to landing some big-time recruits for the class of 2023 this offseason.
The latest talent the Illini were targeting was Famah Toure. He is a talented wide receiver who was ranked inside the top 1000 nationally. Illinois was one of the final two teams for Toure’s commitment, but sadly, he would end up picking Rutgers. It looks like the fact he is from New Jersey and his brother plays for the Scarlet Knights was just too much for the Orange and Blue to overcome.
Tough losses like that happen. It is a part of the recruiting game. But that doesn’t mean Illinois is going to have a bad class of 2023. In fact, Bret Bielema has put together a great start to the 2023 group. We rank No. 48 in the nation, as of right now, with 15 commitments. That number is going to grow in the coming months as well.
But who is next for the Illini? What big targets could Illinois land to help bolster our national ranking and make us a winner on the big stage once again?
Illinois football has a huge in-state target still left for the class of 2023.
I would say the biggest target still on the board is, easily, Jyaire Hill. He is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound cornerback from Kankakee, Illinois. Hill is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 276 player in the class of 2023.
If Hill picked Illinois, I would argue that would lock us into a top 50 class for 2023. Having another top 300 recruit pledge to the Illini would be huge, but it won’t be an easy task landing him.
The race for Hill is clearly between two teams. Illinois and Michigan are going to battle for this kid until the end. Each had an official visit with Hill, so the next step is going to come probably fairly soon.
247Sports also has the Wolverines as a favorite with a seven out of 10 confidence, but that prediction was back in December 2021. Rivals has Illinois now as the favorite, as the Michigan writer for Rivals flipped his prediction from the Wolverines to the Illini back in late June.
I think the Hill recruitment is going to be the biggest test of Bielema’s recruiting powers. If Illinois lands Hill over Michigan, then that is making a statement. That says to me that Illinois is starting to make some serious ground with in-state recruiting.
Another recruit I would keep an eye on moving forward is Saboor Karriem. Karriem is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound safety from West Orange, New Jersey. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 907 player in the class of 2023.
While Karriem isn’t as highly rated as Hill, he is still a top 1000 recruit who would make a huge impact in the secondary. Illinois needs more bodies in the defensive backfield, and Karriem would be a huge addition.
I believe the Karriem recruitment is coming down to Illinois and Duke. If I had to guess right now, Karriem is leaning toward Illinois and will end up being a part of the Illini class of 2023. But as time goes on, anything can happen. We need to get a commitment out of him soon.
Yes, Illinois lost out Toure, but there are some big fish still left in the pond. Bielema has a chance to show his recruiting powers here in the coming months. Let’s finish this class strong and inside the top 50 nationally.