Alan Bowman (© Student Sports)

2018 Illini Football Trending Meter: Offense (May 2017)

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

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. Iowa State has offered, but Eleby is very high on the Illini. It's a matter of whether they Illini want to make a push for him as their second quarterback in the class.

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

TRENDING:  

Offer: Yes

Top competition: 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.

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

TRENDING: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: 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.

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/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/217409-novric-jackson?s=169

http://www.scout.com/player/209071-destin-coates?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Ole Miss, Wake Forest and Purdue

Comment: Ole Miss has the early lead for the Tallahassee running back, but Thad Ward has built a relationship with Coates and hopes to get him on campus later this year. Coates has plus quickness and speed and has the frame to add more strength to be a versatile back. As a junior, he ran for 1,582 yards and 19 touchdowns on 165 carries.

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. Other programs are showing more interest, so Illinois 

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.

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 2-3 scholarships into the position, focusing on adding one speedy slot receiver and one lankier, athletic target.

http://www.scout.com/player/204280-kamryn-babb?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas, USC

Comment: Illinois has hosted Babb for a visit, but he the physically imposing receiver is focused on the blue bloods.

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

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: 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.

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.

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 a real player for Ivy, whom the Illini are making one of their top priorities right now. Ivy 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. Illinois should have some urgency though. Programs like Miami are starting to take notice.

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

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: UCF, FAU, Toledo, Central Michigan

Comment: Illinois was the first power-five program to offer Barker, and he plans a summer visit.

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

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: No

Top competition: 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.

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: 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. Still, he's 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/212389-matt-alaimo?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Rutgers, Minnesota, Duke, NC State, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Virginia Tech

Comment: The Illini recently offered the New Jersey tight end, who has about 20 scholarship offers.  The competition is stiff for the big, dynamic tight end.

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. He will camp again this summer for the Illini to get a better look. He tested extremely well athletically at the Nike Opening in Cleveland this month, so he's one to watch.

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 very 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. He visited the Illini during spring ball and could be one to watch during summer camps.

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. Expect the Illini to add two or three more maulers in this class. But the legal trouble of Darta Lee and HoJo Watkins could increase that number and make this the top need in the Class of 2018.

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/209996-dejmi-dumervil?s=169

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Louisville, 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.

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

TRENDING METER: 

Offer: Yes

Top competition: Louisville, Wake Forest, Mississippi State, Maryland

Comment: The Illini were one of six power-five teams to offer in the last couple weeks. O'Neal really has taken a liking to Louisville, though, and his family seems to like Wake Forest. But he may 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/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

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

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. But in-state Texas Tech will be tough to beat if they want Myers.

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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