Illinois football stockpiling secondary talent as Illini land huge 2025 commitment

The secondary is a focus for the Illinois football team, and that focus paid off in a big way on Sunday
Illinois v Nebraska
Illinois v Nebraska / Steven Branscombe/GettyImages

The Illinois football defense just got a little nastier with a big commitment for 2025.

Coming into the weekend, the Illini had nine commitments and a class of 2025 that ranked inside the top 50 nationally. A trend that has been happening the last few years, Bret Bielema has Illinois on the right track on the field and when it comes to recruiting.

The ability to recruit isn’t just for in-state talent either. While the Illini have been able to secure some great state of Illinois players, Bielema and his coaching staff can go into local states and pluck their top talent as well.

On Sunday, a big commitment came down the pipeline for the Orange and Blue. Desmond Straughton announced that he has ended his recruitment and is committing to the Illini.

Straughton is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound safety from Roseville High School in Michigan. He is rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 699 player in the class of 2025. He is also the No. 55 safety in the country and the No. 12 player coming out of Michigan.

The commitment from Straughton came on the weekend he took an official visit to Illinois. This was not a sure-fire recruit for the Illini either. Straughton took an official visit to Arizona State back in late May, he took multiple visits to Michigan State, and the talented safety had roughly 25 scholarship offers. Illinois ended up winning out, though.

Illinois football is starting to pile up the defensive back depth with the addition of Desmond Straughton to the class of 2025

Straughton is now the fourth-highest-rated recruit in the Illinois class of 2025. He joins state of Illinois commit Andre Lovett in the defensive backfield for the Illini.

Lovett, also a top 700 recruit, and Straughton should give Illinois some dangerous talent in the secondary. In addition to those two, Illinois also has Xanai Scott, a Florida recruit, coming into the program from the class of 2025.

Those three will join a stable of defensive backs who came in from the class of 2024. Illinois had Vernon Woodward, Chase Canada, Amar Reynolds, and Tanner Heckel come in from this recruiting class. Bielema also landed defensive backs Terrence Brooks from Texas and Torrie Cox Jr. from Ohio in the transfer portal.

No one can tell for sure how good Illinois’ secondary is going to be in the future, but there is one thing I know. The defensive backfield is something this coaching staff is focusing on. The depth they are building is quite impressive. Straughton is another piece to what will hopefully be a top-five Big Ten defense for years to come.

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