Michigan players Illinois football should target if they hit the transfer portal

Oct 6, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema talks with
Oct 6, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema talks with / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Jyaire Hill

  • Cornerback
  • (R) Freshman
  • Kankakee, Illinois
  • Kankakee High School

One of the biggest weaknesses for the Illinois football team in 2023 was the secondary. The defensive backfield was gutted following the 2022 season, and Illinois didn’t do a great job securing defensive back help heading into 2023. But if someone like Jyaire Hill hits the transfer portal, he would be a big upgrade to the secondary.

Hill is a 6-foot-2, 181-pound defensive back from Kankakee High School in Illinois. Coming out of the class of 2023, Hill was rated as a four-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 173 player in his class. He was also the No. 20 cornerback in the country and the No. 2 player coming out of the state of Illinois.

I thought this was a recruitment Illinois was going to end up winning. Hill is registered as taking eight different visits to Champaign. He ended up taking a total of three official visits overall. He visited Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. The Wolverines, obviously, won out.

In 2023, Hill saw action in four games and had eight tackles on the year. He ended up taking a redshirt to save his eligibility as well. So, he enters 2024 as a redshirt freshman.

If Hill does decide to enter the transfer portal, Illinois would be a great landing spot for the talented defensive back. We need some serious cornerback help. Illinois lost Taz Nicholson to the transfer portal, but even he struggled for the Illini in 2023.

The highest-ranked Illinois cornerback last season was Tyler Strain, and he ranked No. 374 in the country. Illinois struggled at this position, to say the least. If Hill ended up coming to Illinois, he would start from day one without a doubt. He could follow in the footsteps of someone like Devon Witherspoon who was the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.