Every Illinois head coach sets a goal of landing the top prospects in the state. It appears Lovie Smith is actually doing it.
The Illini have commitments from nine of the top-41 prospects in this year's final Scout.com state of Illinois rankings, the best the Illini have done in the state in almost a decade (check the table below).
The Illini have three commitments from the state's top-12 prospects: No. 5 Kendrick Green (Peoria defensive tackle), No. 6 Ricky Smalling (Brother Rice wide receiver) and No. 12 Alex Palczewski (Mt. Prospect offensive tackle).
The Illini also have three more commitments from the state's top-30 prospects: No. 19 Olalere Oladipo (Huntley defensive end), No. 22 Marc Mondesir (St. Rita linebacker) and No. 26 Vederian Lowe (Rockford Auburn offensive lineman).
Three more Illini commitments fit in the top-45: No. 33 Kendall Smith (Bolingbrook athlete), No. 37 Cam Thomas (Marian Catholic quarterback) and No. 41 James Knight (East St. Louis linebacker/defensive back).
Illinois hasn't done so well in state, according to the Scout.com rankings, since landing seven of the state's top-15 prospects in 2008.
Illini in Scout.com state of Illinois rankings