Jeremy Werner // Illini Inquirer

2018 Illini Football Trending Meter: Offense (June 2017)

Check out the Illini football offensive Big Board for the latest Trending Meter, notes, buzz and new offers.

Check out the latest Trending Meter Defensive Big Board too!

Quarterback

With just three scholarship quarterbacks certainly on the roster entering the fall (Chayce Crouch, Jeff George Jr. and Cam Thomas), Illinois is expected to sign two quarterbacks in the Class of 2018 with the focus on adding more dual threats to Garrick McGee's offense and depth chart.

http://www.scout.com/player/213306-coran-taylor?s=169

COMMITTED

Top competition: None

Comment: Illinois locked down the state-champion in-state quarterback in early April. Taylor grew frustrated with the lack of scholarship offers and wanted to ensure his spot at Illinois. Taylor's film is fantastic. He's a great athlete and runner and showed off a great arm and nice touch during the Lions' playoff run. He still must improve his passing mechanics and accuracy, but he has all the tools McGee wants in his quarterbacks. He's a proven winner who has an "it"  factor.

http://www.scout.com/player/193848-kaleb-eleby?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Iowa State

Comment: The St. Louis area quarterback doesn't have a lot of elite traits. He's not the biggest nor fastest, but he has a versatile skill set. He has a solidly strong arm, above average speed and athleticism and a great work ethic. Eleby is high on the Illini and likely would jump in right now if it were his choice. But Illinois seems more focused on Lowe and Bowman. Iowa State has offered but don't seem to be pushing. Eleby wanted to commit this summer. The Illini might be able to hold off for a little while, but there's a fine line between taking your time and slow-playing a kid to the point that he gets turned off. A bird in the hand?

http://www.scout.com/college/illinois/player/200765-alan-bowman

TRENDING:  

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Cincinnati, Arkansas State, Georgia State

Comment: The big, accurate, intelligent Texas quarterback is a bit different than the other quarterbacks on this board in that his game centers around timely passing. But Bowman also runs well, and the four-year starter has been ultra-productive against top Texas competition. Illinois was the first power-five program to offer, but expect that to change. Texas Tech and Baylor are gaining interest and may offer soon. If that happens, the Illini's arrow will start pointing down.

http://www.scout.com/player/209064-woodrow-lowe?s=169

TRENDING: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: West Virginia, Southern Miss, Houston, Memphis and Navy

Comment: The Tennessee quarterback earned an Illini offer, his first power-five offer, during a March campus visit. He is the grandson of College Football Hall of Famer Woodrow Lowe. Garrick McGee has struck up a strong relationship, and the Illini are trying to make a push for the athletic, dual-threat quarterback. But more power-five programs, like West Virginia, are coming along.

http://www.scout.com/player/198365-john-holcombe?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: SMU, Texas Tech

Comment: The big-bodied, athletic weapon who certainly looks the part. Duke, Indiana, Florida and Texas Tech also have shown interest. But big brother Zarrian's legal trouble at Illinois could complicate this recruitment.

http://www.scout.com/player/214513-cordel-littlejohn?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: No other offers yet

Comment: Illinois was the first to extend a scholarship offer to the Georgia quarterback, who passed for 3,655 yards, 50 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a junior. No other schools have jumped on with offers but that likely will change after the summer camp circuit and his senior season. Littlejohn has taken visits to Louisville, North Carolina, South Caroina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Running backs

Illinois signed two running backs in 2017 -- Mike Epstein and Ra'Von Bonner -- so this isn't a huge position of need, especially with Reggie Corbin and Dre Brown entering the 2018 season as juniors. But the Illini will look to add either another big back to fit McGee's power-run scheme or a versatile, speed option like Corbin.

http://www.scout.com/player/217613-canaan-brooks?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: No other power-five offers

Comment: Illinois offered in May after Brooks performed well at the Rivals camp in St. Louis and Thad Ward saw him in practice. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back has a quick acceleration and has the special ability of not slowing down when he makes his cuts. He's a one-cut back with some strength on him so he should do well between the tackles but also has the speed to get to the outside. Illinois was smart to get in here ahead of the herd and has set themselves up to be a major player -- and the early leader.

http://www.scout.com/player/217409-novric-jackson?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Memphis

Comment: Illinois was the first power-five program to offer big-bodied Florida running back Novric Jackson, who fits what Garrick McGee wants in his power-run scheme. He's shown the Illini a lot of love since. Pittsburgh and West Virginia also are showing interest.

http://www.scout.com/player/217429-kiaryn-davis?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Temple

Comment: Illinois was the first power-five program to offer Davis. He is very short (5-foot-6) but he has big-time speed and can be used all over the field as an offensive weapon -- and could be a dangerous returner. The Illini are in really good shape here.

http://www.scout.com/player/215392-jordan-branch?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Louisville

Comment: The 6-foot-1, 255-pound running back is massive but he also has deceptive speed and athleticism for someone topping 250 on the scales. McGee recruited big backs to Louisville to fit his no-non-sense power-run scheme. Unsurprisingly, Louisville and Illinois are the two schools in on Branch early.

http://www.scout.com/player/215974-lentivone-lesane?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: UCLA, Louisville, Cincinnati, Utah

Comment: Another big-bodied running back who recently received an Illini offer. But UCLA has made a strong first impression, and Louisville looms large too.

http://www.scout.com/player/212206-jakari-norwood?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Southern Miss

Comment: Illinois was the first to offer the Florida running back. Norwood doesn't bring a lot of physicality, but he has power-five speed in the open field.

http://www.scout.com/player/204872-justin-hall?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Iowa State and Central Michigan

Comment: The Homewood-Flossmoor product is a great athlete, ranking 16th in the Nike Football Rating at The Opening regional at Halas Hall in April. He also won the Ill Speed competition at the Under Armour Camp in Northbrook last month. He is more of an "athlete" than running back at this point. H-F played him mostly as a safety, but he also played out of the backfield and at receiver. He also returns kickoffs. The Illinois staff has monitored him for more than a year.

http://www.scout.com/player/208618-jake-bain?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: No offers yet

Comment: Illinois hosted the St. Louis product for a visit in April. Like Hall, Bain is a versatile weapon who played running back and receiver as a junior and could also return kicks at the next level.

http://www.scout.com/player/216303-fotis-kokosioulis?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Currently committed to NIU

Comment: Like Bain and Hall, Kokosioulis is a versatile back who would complement 2017 signees Ra'Von Bonner and Mike Epstein. The small but speedy back is dangerous out of the backfield or in the slot, like sophomore RB Reggie Corbin, and can return kicks. He's one to watch as this class develops, and some on the Illini staff absolutely love him.

http://www.scout.com/player/216533-geno-hess?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Southern Illinois, SEMO

Comment: The ultra-productive Peoria running back would help continue the Peoria pipeline, but he's built more like a MAC back -- and has mostly MAC and FCS interest right now. He's quick in and out of cuts and has really good vision, but he lacks the size the Illini prefer in their running backs. And he's not as proven a receiver as Bain, Kokosioulis or Hall. He did run a 4.56-second 40-yard dash at the Illini Showcase Camp though.

Wide receivers

Illinois added two high-quality receivers (Ricky Smalling and Carmoni Green) in the Class of 2017 but wanted to add more. Expect the Illini to invest at least three scholarships into the position, focusing on adding one speedy slot receiver and one lankier, athletic target.

http://www.scout.com/player/215632-chase-van-wagoner?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Syracuse

Comment: Van Wagoner is the son of a doctor and a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader who has impressive academics and a lot of similarities to 2017 target Reggie Roberson both on the field (quick accelerator with some size) and that he's one of Andrew Hayes-Stoker's top targets. Illinois offered early, but Van Wagoner's recruitment has taken off with TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Utah, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt among his recent offers.

http://www.scout.com/player/214807-ugo-obasi?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin

Comment: Illinois was the first of five power-five programs to offer Obasi. As a junior, Obasi had 49 receptions for 939 yards and 13 touchdowns. Not much noise around this recruitment lately.

http://www.scout.com/player/206061-ke-von-ahmad?s=169

TRENDING METER:  

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Boise State, Baylor, Louisville, TCU, Houston

Comment: Illinois was one of the first power-five programs to offer the speedy Texas wideout, but others have come on board which could make it tough for them to pull him away from the Lone Star State.

http://www.scout.com/player/206024-cadarius-gaskin?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: USF, NC State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh

Comment: After decommitted from Kentucky, Illinois is back in the mix for Gaskin and one of his top options. But South Florida appears the team to beat at the moment.

http://www.scout.com/player/208276-carlos-sandy?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Syracuse and Appalachian State

Comment: Another Florida wideout the Illini offered earlier than most, Sandy called the Illini offer -- his first power-five offer -- a "game changer."

http://www.scout.com/player/212631-calvin-lockett?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Wisconsin, Indiana, Boston College, USF, UCF

Comment: A teammate of incoming Illini defensive end Bobby Roundtree, Lockett has an Illini offer and would add a longer deep threat to an Illini receiving corps that will need it in a year or two. Wisconsin came in with an offer, but Illinois has done a good job developing an early relationship.

http://www.scout.com/player/206304-c-j-parks?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: UCLA

Comment: Illinois recently offered the California athlete, but so did UCLA. It's tough to pull California kids away from the Pac-12.

http://www.scout.com/player/216551-ja-kori-morgan?s=169

TRENDING METER:  

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Houston, Kansas State, Oregon State

Comment: Illinois recently offered the long, athletic Texas receiver and immediately went on his short list. But Houston has made a big impression, as has Kansas State.

http://www.scout.com/player/210842-carson-schleker?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: West Virginia, Washington State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa State

Comment: Another Texas slot receiver, Schleker may visit Illinois this spring/summer. He's short but has great quickness, agility and return ability. As a junior, he caught 51 passes for 855 yards and eight touchdowns.

http://www.scout.com/player/214833-tyleek-collins?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky

Comment: Another speedy slot option, Collins has blown up recently with power-five offers, which could make this one difficult.

http://www.scout.com/player/217372-cameron-o-neil?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Virginia

Comment: Illinois was the first power-five program to offer the big, athletic, sure-handed Alabama wideout. Virginia quickly followed with an offer, and Michigan State and Wisconsin also is interested.

http://www.scout.com/player/216379-jarek-broussard?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Colorado, Houston, TCU

Comment: It's usually tough to draw Texas prospects out of Texas when they have offers from good in-state programs.

http://www.scout.com/player/217027-dequavas-sneed?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: No other power-five offers

Comment: Another speedy Texas slot receiver, Sneed's first power-five offer came from Illinois which has heavily recruited Lancaster High the past two years.

http://www.scout.com/player/216953-elijah-fisher/recruiting?year=2017&s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: No other power-five offers

Comment: Illinois is really intrigued by this under-recruited receiver out of Oklahoma. Fisher doesn't have blazing speed (he ran a 4.66 at the Illinois Showcase camp), and he needs to add strength (5-foot-10, 155 pounds). But Illinois is intrigued by his quickness in and out of breaks and his ability to get open. He's one to watch.

Tight ends

Illinois has a lot of youth at tight end and some intriguing talent but not a lot of proven fits for Garrick McGee's offense. Redshirt freshman Griffin Palmer has size and some athleticism. He had a good spring and looks like a future contributor. The Illini also really like incoming signee Louis Dorsey, who has a long frame and is athletic. But the Illini want at least one dynamic player in this class who can block, catch and create mismatches. In-state tight end Luke Ford's commitment to Arkansas was a bummer, but Illinois has some other intriguing options.

http://www.scout.com/player/211987-t-j-ivy?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Indiana, Syracuse, West Virginia, Purdue, Iowa State

Comment: Illinois is in his top-four with Indiana, Iowa and West Virginia. Iowa is focused on other tight ends, and WVU isn't pushing as hard. This currently is shaping up to be an Illinois-Indiana battle, and Illinois needs to win that battle for an in-state prospect. IIvy is big and a pretty smooth athlete. He blocked really well at The Opening at Halas Hall earlier this month but showed inconsistent hands. Ivy might need some time to develop, but he's the type of body and athlete that McGee wants at the position.

http://www.scout.com/player/208916-daniel-barker?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Pittsburgh, UCF, FAU, Toledo, Central Michigan

Comment: Illinois was the first power-five program to offer Barker, and he plans a summer visit. Pittsburgh recently offered, so this may get a bit more competitive soon.

http://www.scout.com/player/209753-anthony-torres/recruiting?year=2017&s...

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Iowa, Indiana and Toledo

Comment: Torres has looked great on the camp circuit, and he has a lot of physical similarities to Ivy. Illinois has an eye on him, and it wouldn't be a surprise for them to get in the mix soon. But it's likely too late. Iowa was a big offer for him.

http://www.scout.com/player/212939-christoph-henle?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Houston, Tulsa, SMU

Comment: Illinois recently offered the versatile Texas tight end, but local Houston looks tough to beat.

http://www.scout.com/player/213782-charles-robinson?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Minnesota, Iowa State, Mississippi State

Comment: Robinson is listed as a tight end, but Illinois could recruit him as a wide receiver. He's a bit of a 'tweener. He's really athletic for a tight end but about an inch or two shorter than most power-five programs want. He a long, athletic receiver but doesn't have top-end speed. Minnesota just offered him as a wide receiver, though they told him he could play outside linebacker. It's clear that Robinson is a power-five athlete. Illinois just needs to be sold on whether he's a power-five tight end or power-five receiver. They'll probably want to see him up close in a camp. 

http://www.scout.com/player/215820-josh-lifson?s=73

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: FCS programs

Comment: The 6-foot-5 Louisville tight end visited Illinois during spring practice and participated in the Illini Showcase Camp in June. He tested well, but he's an inch or two shorter than the Illini would like (he measured at an even 6-foot-3 in Champaign).

http://www.scout.com/player/213494-matt-bjorson?s=73

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Kentucky

Comment: The in-state tight end is athletic and a pretty good receiver. But he is an inch or two smaller than the Illini would like and he needs to pack on some strength and become a better blocker. The Illini got a closer look at him during the Illini Showcase Camp in June and haven't offered yet.

Offensive line

Luke Butus was a happy man after 2017 Signing Day. He added four really massive and physical offensive linemen to a group that needed those traits. But the Illini o-line rebuild is not complete. The Illini need more depth and competition in the trenches -- even more so after the dismissals of Darta Lee and HoJo Watkins. Expect the Illini to now sign at least five offensive linemen, and maybe as many as six.

http://www.scout.com/player/214895-julian-pearl?s=169

COMMITTED

Top competition: None

Comment: Illinois flipped the former NIU commit during an April unofficial visit to campus. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound tackle is lean and a bit raw at the position. But once he focuses on football -- he's a good basketball player -- and gets into the weight room, he is expected to add strength pretty easily. It's hard to find guys with his length and athleticism.

http://www.scout.com/player/217112-nick-williams?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Minnesota, Syracuse, Purdue

Comment: Illinois beat Minnesota by a few hours to be the first Big Ten program to offer the 6-foot-8, 265-pound tackle. Williams is a high-ceiling prospect due to his size and quickness. But like Pearl, he's got a lot of development ahead of him in regards to strength, technique and footwork. 

http://www.scout.com/player/214934-anthony-mckinney?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Oklahoma, Iowa, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan State, TCU

Comment: Illinois hosted the massive junior-college offensive tackle on June 7, so they are squarely in the mix. McKinney, a Rockford are native, also recently visited Oklahoma and Iowa. He is scheduled to join a program for the 2018 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. With Christian DiLauro graduating and little depth on the offensive line, Illinois has plenty of playing time to sell to the in-state prospect.

http://www.scout.com/player/209996-dejmi-dumervil?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, South Carolina

Comment: Illinois made his top-10, but Dumervil, the nephew of former Louisville great Elvis Dumervil, is expected to follow in his uncle's footsteps. Still, the Michigan offer may change things.

http://www.scout.com/player/216790-raiqwon-o-neal?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Louisville, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Kentucky

Comment: The Illini got in during the middle of an offer flurry for the big South Carolina lineman. O'Neal really has taken a liking to Louisville, though, and his family seems to like Wake Forest. Other power-five programs are offering to. But he wants to take a trip to Illinois this summer.

http://www.scout.com/player/215854-william-dunkle?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Fresno State, South Dakota

Comment: Illinois recently offered the massive San Diego-area offensive lineman, and Dunkle is digging Hardy Nickerson and the Illini right now -- a lot. He plans an official visit to Champaign this fall.

http://www.scout.com/player/209388-marques-cox?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Iowa State

Comment: If Cox had an Illini offer, he'd seem a good bet to add momentum to the Peoria Pipeline. Cox has a massive, legit 6-foot-5 frame. He's physical and played alongside Illini signee Kendrick Green and Illini quarterback commit Coran Taylor on the Lions' state championship team. So what's the hold up? Cox tore his ACL in Peoria's semifinal win and had surgery in December. Most teams will want to see how he recovers and how he plays this fall before offering. It should just be a delay in recruiting for Cox.

http://www.scout.com/player/213939-zack-zambrano?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: Maryland, Southern Miss, FAU, Western Michigan

Comment: Illinois is looking to add a center in the Class of 2018 and visited Zambrano this spring. The Illini got an even closer look in early June for the Illini Showcase Camp -- and Zambrano impressed. He's not the biggest, but he has a strong body with little excess weight and good strength. He's got a good first punch and good pass pro skills.

http://www.scout.com/player/208494-carlos-vettorello?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Oregon State, Boston College

Comment: Vettorello was really impressive at the Chicago UnderArmour Camp in April. He has the size and tenacity that Illinois likes but also has good quickness and technique. He's likely a guard but has shown the feet and flexibility to possibly play tackle. The competition is stiff though.

http://www.scout.com/player/213458-dimitri-douglas/recruiting?year=2017&...

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: No power-five offers

Comment: The 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman had a good camp at Illinois in early June. He looked very good in pass protection but needs to continue to add strength for run blocking. The three-star prospect has mostly MAC offers but is earning some Big Ten interest.

http://www.scout.com/player/215734-briason-mays?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: No other power-five offers

Comment: Illinois wanted to see the Tennessee offensive lineman up close during his visit with QB teammate Trey Lowe, and the Illini liked what they saw. He reminds us a little bit of 2017 signee Howard Watkins. He's physical, moves well and seems to have some versatility with where he could play on the line.

http://www.scout.com/player/216427-braeden-daniels?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Houston, Arizona, Kansas

Comment: Illinois became the first power-five offer for the Texas native, but the competition could start to heat up. In-state Houston just offered as well. Daniels seems a bit more raw than some of the other prospects on this list and must add more strength, but the ceiling is pretty high. He has a long frame and finishes blocks.

http://www.scout.com/player/214937-kievan-myers

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Texas Tech, Colorado, Houston

Comment: Myers fits the bill of what the Illini are looking for: massive mauler. He's huge and physical. He'd need some work in pass protection and needs to add lean muscle, but the Illini first want guys who can move people. Myers can do that. In-state Texas Tech will be tough to beat if they want Myers, but Illinois is in the mix.

http://www.scout.com/player/212949-demarcus-marshall?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Texas Tech, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas State, Houston, North Texas

Comment: Illinois offered recently, but it'll be tough to pull Marshall far from Texas.

http://www.scout.com/player/215484-troy-ingle?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: UCF

Comment: Illinois recently offered the Florida product and is his first power-five scholarship offer. Ingle's size and mean streak caught the eye of Illini OL coach Luke Butkus. Illinois has more work to do and Ingle should receive more power-five interest down the line.


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