The new-look Illinois football staff is attempting to make a late splash to its Class of 2016, which currently ranks 11th in the Big Ten and 53rd nationally.
On offense, the Illini are looking to add some big players up front and a burner, as I broke down last week in my offensive big board.
On defense, the Illini must add some speed and athleticism in the back seven, as I broke down last week in my defensive big board.
The next three weekends -- the last three opportunities to host official visits -- are the Illini's last opportunities to end the class with a splash, like they did last season with the late addition of four-star running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
The Illini will host a six pack of official visitors this weekend before bigger weekends ahead.
Official visitors - Jan. 15 (updated 1/14)
The former Arkansas commit reopened his recruitment and has an impressive list of power-five offers. He would add much-needed athleticism and speed to the Illini in their 4-3 scheme. The Illini can sell a chance for early playing time, and they get the first crack at him.
The former Iowa State commit reopened his recruitment. Following his Illini visit, he will head to Florida International on Jan. 22. Illinois is his top offer.
The former Utah commit visited Illinois last month. Most of the other schools he's considering include Ivy League schools: Dartmouth, Penn, Harvard and Yale. But Stanford is coming strong, recruiting him as a wide receiver, and would be tough to beat if they offer. But Illinois can sell a mix of great academics, Big Ten football and early playing time.
The 6-foot-5 tight end has the full package -- he's a refined pass catcher and willing blocker with the frame to add strength -- and an impressive offer list. But the former Texas A&M commit reopened his commitment. Illinois gets the first visit, and the Illini also offered his teammate, defensive end Isaiah Bean. Holcombe would be a late steal and a big need position.
The Maryland commit has reopened his commitment and has recently received offers from Illinois and Kansas. He is tall and long with the speed to be a downfield threat. Illinois is really high on Fair's list. He told us last week, "I feel like I am a Big Ten player." Kansas is the Illini's biggest competition, so Fairs might be the Illini's best chance at an impact wideout.
The Mizzou decommit has re-opened his recruitment, and Illini offensive line coach A.J. Ricker -- the former Mizzou offensive line coach -- has a built-in relationship with the big, powerful Texan.
Illinois badly needs a tight end and the Virginia commit fits the bill of what Bill Cubit wants: a big presence (he must add strength) and a reliable route runner.
The UCF commit and former FIU commit again is re-considering other programs. He visited NC State recently and just received an Illinois offer. The Illini can sell a chance at early playing time. His length and overall solid skill set makes him a possible Big Ten starter if he adds strength,