5. Dezz Ricks
- Position: DB
- Year: R-Freshman
- Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia
I believe the Illinois football secondary is going to be the weakest unit entering the 2024 campaign. We struggled greatly this past season and have only lost talent in the transfer portal.
It is a bit shocking Illinois hasn’t been able to snag another defensive back this offseason. There is still time, though. If someone like Dezz Ricks decides to leave Alabama, he would be a great addition to the Illini secondary.
Coming out of IMG Academy but originally from Virginia, Ricks was a five-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 25 player in the class of 2023. He was also the No. 2 cornerback in the country and the No. 6 player coming out of Florida.
Ricks didn’t see much time as a freshman. He played in two games and saw a total of nine snaps all year. I would imagine Ricks took a redshirt year in 2023, so he still has four years of eligibility remaining.
Illinois needs a ton of help in the secondary entering next season. We gave up 228.1 yards per game through the air, which ranked No. 64 in the country. Honestly, it felt a lot worse than that. The Illinois defense could use an overhaul in the secondary, and Ricks would be a great option.
If Ricks did become available in the next 30 days, then I would hope Illinois would throw a lot of NIL money at the talented defensive back. He could help take the Illini defensive backfield from below average to great in a single season.