Illinois Football: Top 10 states for Illini recruiting under Bret Bielema

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Bret Bielema of the Illinois Fighting Illini leads the team on the field before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Bret Bielema of the Illinois Fighting Illini leads the team on the field before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /
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Ardmore quarterback and Illinois commit Cal Swanson is No. 19 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top 2023 recruits.swanson1
Ardmore quarterback and Illinois commit Cal Swanson is No. 19 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top 2023 recruits.swanson1 /

No. 6 Oklahoma

This is the final state that hasn’t produced much for the Illini, but the one player that Oklahoma did bring the program is going to be extremely important for the future.

Highest Rated Player: Cal Swanson

Illinois doesn’t usually bring in freshmen quarterbacks who rank inside the top 1000, but I think Swanson has a chance to be a really special player for the program.

Swanson is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback from Ardmore High School in Oklahoma. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 853 player in the class of 2023. He is also the No. 43 quarterback in the country and the No. 12 player coming out of the state of Oklahoma.

Throughout camps and the recruiting process, Swanson continued to improve greatly. He went from having a rating of 0.8367 to finishing with a rating of 0.8694. That is an astronomical rise in the recruiting world.

Additional Talent

Swanson is the lone Oklahoma recruit to pledge to the Illini. I don’t expect this state to ever turn into a pipeline, but we were able to land a great one in Swanson.

I think Swanson has a chance to be our future starting quarterback. Illinois has Luke Altmyer who just transferred in. He is a sophomore this season, and I fully expect him to start all three years in Champaign.

Swanson should redshirt in 2023. By the time he is a redshirt junior, the starting job will be open. That is when I think he could take the starting job. If Altmyer falters at all, Swanson might be able to sneak in sooner.

Having quarterback depth is something that I am not familiar with at Illinois. I love the addition of Swanson. This was a big get for the Illini over the past three recruiting classes.