Illinois Football: Big unofficial visit weekend for the Illini

This was a big weekend for the Illinois football program for more than one reason.

The obvious reason it was a big weekend for the Illini was the fact it was the start of training camp. The season is right around the corner and having Illinois football back is exciting.

I also believe this was a big weekend because of unofficial visits. There were numerous visits set up with future recruiting targets. These players could be the foundation for a successful program in the near future.

Here are some of the recruits Illinois football had in for an unofficial visit.

Christopher Burgess Jr

Burgess is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound edge rusher from Simeon High School and resides in Chicago, Illinois. He isn’t rated or ranked yet, but that is due to him being from the class of 2025.

Illinois is one of two scholarship offers Burgess has thus far. The other program to see his talent is the Akron Zips. We need to get a stronger pipeline to the Chicago area, and Burgess would be a great option.

Brandon Hansen

Landing a player like Hansen is what would take Illinois football from good to great. Hansen is a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle from Mundelein Cons High School and resides in Mundelein, Illinois. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 495 player in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 38 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 16 player coming out of Illinois.

Bret Bielema needs to start bringing in the top in-state players, and Hansen would be one of those talented recruits. Keeping top talent home would elevate the Orange and Blue to new heights.

Cooper Catalano

Bielema and the Illinois coaching staff went up to Wisconsin to bring Catalano to Champaign for an unofficial visit. Catalano is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker from Germantown High School and resides in Germantown, Wisconsin. He isn’t rated or ranked yet because he is from the class of 2025.

With Illinois running more of a 3-4 or nickel defense, the linebacker position is becoming more important by the day. Catalano would be a huge piece in the future.


I am sure there were more visits this past weekend, but these three players will be important when their recruiting classes roll around. Illinois football will continue building.