Peoria QB Coran Taylor commits to Illini

Peoria quarterback is Illini's first commitment in the Class of 2018

Illinois hoped the addition of Kendrick Green would help start a "Peoria pipeline" to Champaign. The talent now is flowing from The River City.

Illinois received a commitment on Monday moring from Peoria quarterback Coran Taylor, who led the Lions to a Class 5A state championship in 2016. Taylor is the Illini's first commitment in the Class of 2018.

"I've been thinking about doing this for a while," Taylor said. "I wanted to let the process play out, but the process was going too slow. So I decided to just do it and join the Illini family."

Taylor said he's known he'd pick Illinois for a while.

"Not too soon after they offered me (last fall)," Taylor said. "After I took a couple visits and got to know all the coaches really well, that's when I knew. It has good academics, great coaches, just a great place and it's close to home."

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback led Peoria to a historic 2016 season. The Lions were the first team in IHSA history to score more than 800 points (807), averaging 57.6 per game. Taylor ran for 1,671 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns and passed for 1,542 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Taylor chose the Illini over offers from Illinois State and Miami (Ohio). He called Illinois offensive line coach Luke Butkus with the news on Monday morning and then talked to head coach Lovie Smith and defensive line coach Mike Phair.

'They're fired up," Taylor said. "They're ready."

Taylor finally gives the Illini Class of 2018 a jumpstart. They'd recently missed on top in-state targets Luke Ford (Arkansas), Quincy Patterson (Virginia Tech) and Devin O'Rourke (Northwestern). ranks Taylor as the No. 1 quarterback in the state, ahead of Patterson and Wisconsin commit Ben Bryant.

"I'm here, so now I got to recruit," Taylor said. "I got to get my linebackers and all that. Now that I've committed it'll probably push their decisions up earlier if they're leaning toward Illinois."

Smith wanted to make sure he locked up top talent from the state-champion Peoria Lions.

"That was a big factor," Taylor said. "Kendrick always knew that's where I wanted to go. He would say, 'What are you waiting on Coran?'"

What are the Illini getting in Taylor as a quarterback?

"Big Ten championships," Taylor said. "That's what they're getting out of me. Now I got to work to make sure I'm ready for the next level. That's all it is. Now that I know where I'm going, so now I just got to work toward it."

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