It was a tough recruiting battle, but the Illinois football program barely missed out on a top 2024 recruit.
Despite being relatively new, and the fact there hasn’t been enough time for proof of concept, Bielema has done a great job recruiting talent. We have had a top-50 recruiting class in his first two groups of kids, and that looks like it will continue in the class of 2024 as well.
On Monday, though, the Illini received some bad news. After a tough recruiting battle that saw Illinois compete with some of the big boys of the college football world, Marquise Lightfoot has picked Miami (FL) as his destination.
Illinois football still has a solid class of 2024 and it will continue to improve despite missing out on Marquise Lightfoot
It would have been amazing to land Lightfoot. He is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound edge from Kenwood Academy out of Illinois. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 67 player in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 6 edge in the country and the No. 3 player coming out of Illinois.
Lightfoot had Illinois in his top five, and I believe we were in his top three when it was all said and done. This might have been a little too big of a fish to catch this early on in the Bielema era, though.
I don’t think you should look too much into Illinois missing out on Lightfoot. We can’t win every recruiting battle, and Lightfoot is one of the biggest recruits in the country. I honestly believe it is a great sign that the Illini were such contenders in this recruiting battle.
Illinois still has 15 commitments for the class of 2024. We rank No. 41 nationally, and there are still plenty of solid recruits left as well. Don’t be shocked if Bielema pulls off back-to-back-to-back top-50 recruiting classes. We haven’t seen that since Ron Zook was at the helm.
There will be top 150 recruits in the future for the Illini. Look for Illinois to compete for more and more top recruits as time goes on. The winning will continue, and this will improve our recruiting profile.