Illinois Football: 2023 defensive lineman backs away from Illini commitment

The Illinois football team took a defensive recruiting hit for 2023 on Tuesday afternoon.

The Illini were compiling a pretty solid class of 2023. One of the most recent commitments had come from Jamarrion Harkless. He pledged to the Orange and Blue back in early June and kept that commitment through August 8. On August 9, though, everything changed.

Harkless took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that he was backing away from his commitment to Illinois and reopening his recruitment. This comes as a surprise, and it is a blow to the Illini for the class of 2023.

Illinois lost a three-star recruit in Harkless. He is ranked as the No. 777 player in the class of 2023 and the No. 88 defensive lineman in the country. So, needless to say, this loss hurts the program.

What does the Illinois football class of 2023 look like without Jamarrion Harkless?

Despite the Illini losing a top 1000 recruit, the class of 2023 is still strong. As of right now, Illinois has the No. 54 class in the country, and it is top loaded with some talented recruits.

Kaden Feagin, Kenari Wilcher, Zachary Tobe, and TJ McMillen are all top 1000 recruits with Feagin leading the way as a four-star who is ranked No. 263 in his class.

As of right now, Illinois has 14 players committed for 2023. The biggest name still left on the board is Jyaire Hill. He is a four-star cornerback from Kankakee, Illinois. Hill has been on five unofficial visits and one official visit to Champaign, with the most recent visit coming back on July 26.

The next top target for the Illini is Saboor Karriem. He is a three-star safety who is ranked as the No. 906 player in the class of 2023. It looks like Karriem’s recruitment is down to Illinois and Duke. Snagging both Hill and Karriem would greatly enhance the Illinois secondary.

So, even with a tough recruiting loss in Harkless, there are still some big options on the board. Illinois could still have a top 50 recruiting class for 2023 with a strong finish.