Illinois football loses 2024 OLB in weird National Signing Day flip

Just when you thought the Illinois football class of 2024 was buttoned up, one of the weirdest commitment flips takes place.
Illinois v Iowa
Illinois v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

Illinois football just had a brutal National Signing Day departure.

The Illini class of 2024 seemed to have been pretty much wrapped up heading into the regular National Signing Day. Nearly everyone had signed during the early signing period in December, so there wasn’t much to worry about when the regular signing period took place in February.

One of the top recruits who signed with Illinois early was Josaiah Knight. He didn’t just sign with the Illini, I believe he also enrolled early, as he was an early high school graduate.

This was a pretty big deal for the Orange and Blue, as Knight is a solid recruit. He was a four-star recruit and the No. 267 player in the class of 2024, according to The other three recruiting sites, 247Sports, Rivals, and ESPN had him as a three-star.

Between when Knight signed and enrolled back in December and now, something changed. Knight took an official visit to Mississippi State on February 2. On Wednesday, Knight backed away from his commitment, and I guess signing and enrolling, and decided to flip to the Bulldogs.

Losing Josaiah Knight is weird and it is a blow to the Illinois football class of 2024

This is one of the weirder recruiting losses for the Illini. Having a player like Knight sign in December and enroll at Illinois but then decide to head elsewhere has me scratching my head. As I am typing this, Knight is still listed on the 2024 Football Signing Class and Transfers roster on the Illinois website.

On a football level, this is a big blow to the Illinois football class of 2024. We were ranked inside the top 50 in the class of 2024, but now 247Sports has us outside the top 50.

Illinois’ roster could have used another big outside linebacker like Knight too. We do have one of the top defensive junior college outside linebackers coming in with Daniel Brown, but having a freshman developing and waiting in the wings would have been nice.

Thankfully, the Illini have some solid talent at outside linebacker moving forward. I love what Gabe Jacas and Seth Coleman bring to the table for 2024. Alec Bryant, Jared Badie, and Calvin Smith will see plenty of snaps as well.

I think, for the future, losing Knight is a blow. Despite that, Illinois should be okay in the near future. We have talent at outside linebacker. But, man, this was a weird loss for the Orange and Blue.

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