No. 3 New Jersey
With the third-most recruits Illinois has pulled in over the last three recruiting classes, New Jersey has proved to be a nice pipeline for talent.
Highest Rated Player: Saboor Karriem
Landing four-star recruits hasn’t been easy over the past 10 or 15 years, let alone landing those talented players from other states. But Illinois was able to snag an extremely talented recruit in Karriem.
Karriem is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound safety from West Orange High School in New Jersey. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 343 player in the class of 2023. He is also the No. 33 safety in the country and the No. 6 player coming out of New Jersey.
With roughly 24 scholarship offers, Karriem was not an easy recruit to land. Bret Bielema and the Illini coaching staff were able to pull him in, though.
I think Karriem is going to be a huge addition to the Illinois football program. With players like Sydney Brown and Quan Martin now in the NFL, the Illini needed more safety help. Karriem will probably see snaps this season and should be starting by 2024. That is how much of an impact he is going to make in Champaign.
In addition to Karriem, Illinois has been able to fill a lot of depth needs through the state of New Jersey.
I am excited to see what Donovan Leary can do at quarterback. He has potential and could end up being a starter down the road. Owen Anderson brings more depth to the tight end room as well. Both of these players came from the class of 2022, and they both redshirted last season.
Illinois also had Zachary Aamland come in from the class of 2023. He is an offensive lineman who isn’t highly rated, but he will fill in some holes. Aamland will be a nice depth piece for the future.
New Jersey has a chance to be a special state for Illinois recruiting. Karriem and the crew from the east coast will be big pieces to the puzzle for the Illini.