Illinois football has put together a pretty impressive run on a top recruit for 2024.
Bret Bielema and the Illini coaching staff were able to pull in two top-50 recruiting classes in the last two seasons. This has helped fill the holes left by the previous regime, and it is also building depth on the roster.
The class of 2024 is next up for the Orange and Blue. We have already started this group off on the right foot with three commitments thus far. The coming weeks will be important for this group. Numerous official visits are in store. One of the most recent visits that has been set up is by Dylan Stephenson.
Stephenson is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound Edge from Columbus High School in Florida. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 158 player in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 13 edge in the country and the No. 26 player coming out of Florida.
Illinois football is making up a ton of ground in the recruitment of Dylan Stephenson
There have been a ton of teams keeping tabs on Stephenson over the past year or so. Illinois wasn’t one of those teams until late.
On April 13, the Illini came in with a scholarship offer to Stephenson. This is actually his latest offer out of his roughly 22 scholarship offers on the table. But apparently, Illinois’ pitch is a strong one, as just about a week ago, Stephenson published his first three official visits.
Stanford got the first crack at Stephenson, as he visited the campus this past weekend. Florida State will get an official visit the weekend of June 23. Sandwiched in between those two visits is a stop in Champaign to see what the Illini are all about. Stephenson will come to Illinois this upcoming weekend.
The fact that Illinois offered Stephenson a scholarship less than two months ago, and we already made his official visit list is impressive. To me, that means there is a strong interest from both sides.
Stephenson is an “edge” in its truest form. He can play with his hand in the dirt or he can drop back and be an outside linebacker.
At 215 pounds, I see Stephenson as more of an outside linebacker in the Illinois defense. Bielema and the staff seem to want bulkier players up front. Stephenson has played both roles, so that makes for one versatile player.
When I watch Stephenson play the game, I immediately think of someone like Leonard Floyd. He is an outside linebacker who is best when he rushes the passer. Floyd has had at least nine sacks in each of the past three seasons. That is what I see in Stephenson.
Needless to say, this is a big official visit for Illinois. We had one of the best defenses in the country in 2022, and I think that should be the main selling point. Let’s get Stephenson in the building and take this defense to another level.