Illinois football is a serious contender for one of the top running backs in the class of 2024.
Needless to say, the Illini have had a shot in the arm when it comes to the running back position over the past few years. Reggie Corbin helped jolt the running back room, and Chase Brown took the baton and ran with it.
This resurgence of the running back room not only helped Illinois win games on the field, but it is also putting us in the spotlight when it comes to recruiting the running back position.
A running back who is taking a serious look at the Illini is Ca’lil Valentine. He is a 6-foot, 180-pound running back from Chandler High School in Arizona. Valentine is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 360 player in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 32 running back in the country and the No. 8 player coming out of Arizona.
Ca’lil Valentine continues to elevate the Illinois football program in his recruitment
The rise of the Illini in the recruitment of Valentine has been swift. We offered him a scholarship back on May 17. Since then, Valentine has cut his list down to eight teams and kept Illinois alive.
On Wednesday, Illinois gained even more traction in the Valentine recruitment. He took to social media and announced that one of his five official visits will be to Champaign on the weekend of June 23. This is big news considering this is essentially him announcing that the Illini are in his top five.
As of right now, only two official visits have been set. The week before the visit to Illinois, Valentine will be visiting Utah. He has also announced that a commitment is going to be coming on July 8.
Being in serious contention for another top running back is exciting, and I am starting to see a trend with the Illinois football program. Bret Bielema is great at recruiting running backs. He did so with the Wisconsin Badgers and Arkansas Razorbacks, and now he is doing a great job bringing in top ball-carrying talent at Illinois.
In the class of 2022, Bielema was able to land Aidan Laughery, an in-state running back who was the No. 651 player in the country and the highest-rated recruit in the class for the Illini. We also pulled in Jordan Anderson who was the No. 1034 player in the class of 2022.
The 2023 class fared even better. One of the top players in this class for the Illini was Kaden Feagin. He was a four-star recruit who was the No. 377 player in the class of 2023.
Now Illinois is in the mix for another four-star running back who ranks inside the top 400. Bielema is loading up the running back room. We are about to see some 1990s-style football, and I am here for it. Illinois is zigging when other teams are zagging. I love it.