Rumors were swirling as the weekend approached of a possible commitment for Illinois. Dre Brown was the likely suspect, but until he took to Twitter to make it official late Friday afternoon, fans remained on watch.
Brown was long considered an Illinois lean, but as more time went on, it started to appear that Brown might be looking to take his time with the process and wait things out a while. But that changed quickly.
Just over a month ago, Champaign Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald became the inaugural member of the Illinois recruiting class. He immediately began recruiting other players, namely in-state prospects, and Brown was at the top of his list.
What You Need to Know About Brown
Brown isn't a blazer and he won't run a defender over when going head to head. What he will do, however, is get yardage. Brown has a solid build which will allow him to be a three-down back and carry the load for his team.
Dekalb runs an option offense, but Brown got a chance to showcase his receiving skills out of the backfield from time to time last season. Brown has the ability to be both an effective runner and receiver in Cubit's offense and will have the opportunity to do both.
What impresses me the most about Brown is that he's always moving forward. Whether he's making a cut or fighting through a tackle, Brown keeps his momentum moving downfield. Those extra yards will endear him to his offensive coordinator and other coaches.
As a pass protector, the jury is still out. Brown has all the physical tools to be an excellent pass protector, but in an offense that runs almost 90 percent of the time, Brown hasn't regularly been asked to pick up the blitz for his quarterback.
Still, Illinois is getting a guy who put up a lot of yards and has the tools and work ethic to be a future starter.
So far, signs point to a "recruits recruiting recruits" theme with this class. Albeit the coaches have put in a lot of time and effort to land Brown, but it didn't hurt having another in-state member of the junior class pursuing Brown.
Fitzgerald made good on his goal of going after Brown first. The running back and quarterback tandem of Fitzgerald and Brown, two of the top offensive prospects in the state of Illinois, is a great start for the 2015 class for the Illini.
In years past, it would have been unexpected to land either one of the two this early in the process, but credit Illinois for going out and starting to make headway with their top in-state targets. The Illini won't lock down the borders overnight, but the early returns are showing positive momentum in regards to recruiting the home state.
On top of Brown, Fitzgerald also has mentioned Flynn Nagel as one of his prime targets. Additionally, Fitzgerald spent most of his recent visit to Illinois with central Illinois linemen Quinn Oseland and Gabe Megginson.
Now with both Fitzgerald and Brown at work, Illinois will seek to continue their streak and capitalize on a solid 2015 class inside the Illinois borders.