2017 Illini Signing Day Live HQ

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all of the Illini recruiting news, videos, interviews, analysis and rankings you need for National Signing Day. The Illini Inquirer crew will keep this page updated in real time with updated breaking news and national letters of intent.

5:00 p.m. - Piper on Lovie's "foundation" class

2:30 p.m. - Watch Lovie Smith's Signing Day press conference

1:37 p.m. - Miss my Signing Day chat on Facebook Live? Get the replay here.

1:35 p.m. - Best prospects? Biggest projects? Sleeper? Biggest need filled? Biggest hole remaining? Check out our Signing Day Superlatives.

12:05 p.m . - Ryan Easterling with the film breakdown of Bobby Roundtree.

12:00 p.m. - Signing Day Splash!  Illinois lands a big Signing Day decision with 3-star DE Bobby Roundtree. He was Lovie Smith's top target for a long time and gives the Illini a heck of a defensive line class.


11:33 a.m. - One thing not discussed enough is how Illinois kept almost all of its commitments this year. The only player to decommit was 3-star cornreback Antwan Collier (who never visited campus) -- and he decommitted during the fall, so the Illini had plenty of time to recover. Notre Dame and Ole Miss came after Kendrick Green. Ohio State and Iowa came after Ra'Von Bonner. Miami and Utah came after Mike Epstein. Missouri tried to flip Tony Adams and Larry Boyd. North Carolina and several Pac-12 programs tried to flip Carmoni Green, Illinois, which often lost some of its top recruits to more popular programs, held onto all of them. This staff did a great job of continuing to recruit its own recruits. It's an underrated but important quality in a staff. It shows these guys are truly bought into Lovie Smith and this staff's plan.

10:54 a.m. - And the Cali kid is in. The Illini hope 3-star Bennett Williams starts a pipeline to the Golden State. His Signee Spotlight here.


10:41 a.m. - The waaaaaaiting is the hardest part. Still waiting news on 3-star Florida DE Bobby Roundtree. Currently, Illinois has the No. 35 recruiting class in the country on the Scout.com team rankings. Good for No. 2 in the Big Ten West division.

9:48 a.m. - No surprise here, but East St. Louis 4-star WR Jeff Thomas has committed to Miami.


8:36 a.m. - Yet another satellite camp find, Chicago St. Rita 3-star linebacker Marc Mondesir shows the Illini are confident in their evaluations. His Signee Spotlight here.


8:27 a.m. - A satellite camp find, Tony Adams was a big -- and rare -- win for Illinois over Mizzou. The 3-star St. Louis University High cornerback might help turn that tide. His Signee Spotlight here.


8:25 a.m. - Pied Piper of the Lovie Smith era? Day One starter? Regardless, 4-star Chicago Brother Rice WR Ricky Smalling is a big-time get for Illini. His Signee spotlight here.


8:22 a.m. - We saw Vederian Lowe dominate at camps last summer. He's got a lot of work to do but has an NFL ceiling. His Signee Spotlight here.


8:05 a.m. - The ole flip-a-roo. No surprise, but Illinois has flipped Memphis DL commit Jamal Woods. The Alabama native adds depth and versatility. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:59 a.m. - The Illini came in late for 4-star DT Kendrick Green. But they closed quickly and hope to establish a Peoria Pipeline. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:57 a.m. - Illinois now beats Michigan State, Penn State and other top programs for DL. Big get in Huntley (Ill.) 3-star DE Olalere Oladipo. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:50 a.m. - Late addition Deon Pate adds versatility to the Illini defensive line. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:41 a.m. - A dynamic player at a huge position of need, Florida 3-star TE Louis Dorsey is officially an Illini. His Signee Spotlight here


7:34 a.m. - He might not have the elite measureables but East St. Louis (Ill.) defender James Knight is a heck of a football player and hitter. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:30 a.m. Garrick McGee's first hand-picked QB is in. Marian Catholic (Ill.) QB Cam Thomas is officially an Illini. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:23 a.m. Larry Boyd had to be dragged to his first Illinois visit. Then he fell in love with Lovie. The 3-star St. Louis OL is now an Illini. His Signee Spotlight here.


7:17 a.m. - Kendall Smith was the first to commit to Lovie Smith. Actually, he and Ricky Smalling did it at the same time. The in-state athlete's Signee Spotlight here.


7:14 a.m. - One of the best examples of the Illini's beefed-up scouting department? The latest signee, Alex Palczewski. The No. 45 OT's Signee Spotlight here.


6:51 a.m. - Illini just signed the guy Allen Trieu thinks could be the steal of the Big Ten on Signing day. Welcome, CB Nate Hobbs. His Signee Spotlight story here.


6:45 a.m. - Two other Big Ten programs tried to steal him late, but Ohio RB Ra'Von Bonner has signed with Illini. His Signee Spotlight story here.


6:25 a.m. - The newest Illini commit is the second Illini signee. Welcome, Dawson DeGroot to the Illini family. His Signee Spotlight story here.


6:20 a.m. - Mike Epstein has been committed to Illinois through three Illini head coaches. It's fitting that he's the first to sign. His Signee Spotlight story here.


5:45 a.m. - Good morning! Four hours of sleep is all we need to get us up for Signing Day! That first letter should be in within the next 15-20 minutes -- most likely from the Eastern time zone.

This is like Christmas Day for a lot of these kids, and one of the biggest moments of their lives. They're about to sign a piece of paper that likely connects them to a university and football program for the next three to five years.

A few quick basics.

How many scholarships has Illinois filled? Right now, the class has 23 scholarships. Teams can enroll 25 kids maximum in each class, though the Big Ten allows three oversigns. But Illinois also could back-count early enrollees, of which Illinois has four, to the Class of 2016 if they have open spots. Word is Illinois will back-count a few. So what's that all mean? Illinois has 23 commits right now, but they still have more than two scholarships available entering today. They could fill those up today -- or fill those later with late-signing prep prospects or potential fifth-year transfers.

Where does the class rank? The Illinois class enters the day ranked 34th in the country -- which is the only the second Illini class in the top-40 since 2010 -- and eighth in the Big Ten, third among Big Ten West teams. And the Illini could leap Minnesota, which is just one spot ahead in the national rankings.

Where are the commits from? The Illini have 10 in-state prospects committed, if you including St. Louis University High cornerback Tony Adams, who lives in Belleville. He and Larry Boyd play in Missouri. Seven commitments, including Dwayne Lawson (news on him here), are from Florida. Two are from Ohio, one from Kentucky, one from Michigan, and one from California.

12:00 a.m. - Happy Signing Day! Jeremy Werner, Illini Inquirer publisher here. Welcome to your Signing Day Live HQ! This is the only place you need to be for all your Illini Signing Day needs and wants. We will be updating this page all day. When national letters of intent arrive, you will know. When breaking news occurs -- there are a few Illini targets still left on the board -- you will know.

Today is a bit more exciting than last year's Signing Day, when Bill Cubit was doing the best he could to scrap together a class on a two-year deal that really only lasted a few months. A year later, Lovie Smith is signing his first class as Illini head coach. And that's a big reason Illinois is expected to sign a top-40 class and one of the better classes in the Big Ten West Division.

Ryan Easterling and I will have Signee Spotlights featuring scouting reports and narratives on each signee once they arrive. I will have analysis throughout the day, including a Signing Day Superlatives column, five toughest misses from the class and more!

I will do a Facebook Live chat at noon to answer your Signing Day questions (check out our Facebook page here).

And we will have live video (on our Facebook page) and reaction from Lovie's press conference at 2 p.m. We even dragged Derek Piper over from the basketball beat to write a story following the press conference. He needed some excitement and positivity to cover. Easterling and I also will do a Signing Day podcast in the evening.

Illinois isn't involved in too many Signing Day decisions. Hueytown (Ala.) defensive end Jamal Woods will announce his decision at 10:30 a.m. CT.  He previewed his decision here. The Illini seem to be in good shape for the Memphis commit.

Largo (Fla.) defensive end Bobby Roundtree is expected to announce his decision today between Indiana and Illinois.

Also, Ohio punter Brad Robbins -- currently a Nevada commit -- could announce today as well. He received an Illini offer last week and took an official visit over the weekend.

If you're interested, East St. Louis four-star receiver Jeff Thomas will announce his decision on ESPNU in the 9 a.m. CT hour. He has a final three of Miami, Louisville and Tennessee. The Hurricanes are the heavy favorite. 

Most of the Illini commits have told us when they plan to sign. Here's a rough (I repeat, rough) schedule of the commits who got back to us.

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