Breakdown: Early Signing Day
So how does the State of Illinois Class of 2020 rank overall? Not good, not good at all. The sheer overall numbers of expected FBS level verbal commitments who are expected to sign Letters of Intent on Wednesday are easily at an all time low. So why the low numbers you ask? I would look to several different factors (lower overall participation numbers for football, continued dwindling in-state population growth along with just a not very deep talent base in the 2020 class overall) and the overall demand from schools who recruit the State of Illinois on a regular basis being very low. In short, the overall lack of depth of this class is clearly evident by the very limited numbers of FBS level signings.
Take a look at the Big Ten conference. Unless you happen to be say Iowa (5 expected early signers) or Northwestern (4 expected early signers plus the addition of a strong in-state preferred walk on group) this was not a strong year to sign very many State of Illinois kids names.
Illinois? Wisconsin? Purdue? Michigan State? Michigan? All are planning to ink just one name from the State of Illinois Class of 2020.
Indiana? Minnesota? Penn State? None of these traditional State of Illinois regulars are expected to sign anyone from the Land of Lincoln.
Total number of FBS level names from the State of Illinois who have signed Letters of Intent? (Source Rivals.com database)
2020: 48*** early signing period projected numbers only
I'm projecting the Class of 2020 to wind up having 50-55 names total sign FBS level Letters of Intent by the end of the February recruiting period.
So what about the FCS level and below?
The Class of 2020 is going to again be a relatively a strong group for the FCS/D2 level in my opinion. Currently I'm showing 34 names from the Class of 2020 already being verbally committed to FCS schools and a majority of those names are expected to sign Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The combined FBS/FCS number of signee's should number in the upper 80's to low 90's, which is also on target to be well below average over the past 7 signing classes from the State of Illinois. Currently from an in state schools perspective, Southern Illinois and head coach Nick Hill currently has 5 known in-state verbal commitments.
So what ended up being positions of overall strength in the Class of 2020 in the State of Illinois?
Defensive Line and Offensive Line. The offensive line and the defensive line group was a strength overall in the Class of 2020. The two positions represented more than half of the EDGYTIM.com Class of 2020 Early Signing Top 50 recruit rankings and account for half of the Top 10 recruits. The offensive linemen group in the State of Illinois has been a traditional position that college coaches regionally and nationally come here to recruit. However, the defensive linemen group over the past 3-4 years has become a much bigger, better and consistent group as the talent level for this position along with more focus on off season position specific training no question has improved the overall play. The defensive linemen has become much more college ready over the past handful of years compared to year's past.
So which positions ended up being down in the Class of 2019?
Quarterback/Linebacker. The quarterback group always seems to get a rough ride here in the State of Illinois and this group might have gotten one of the toughest rides yet. No in-state quarterback has yet to commit to any FBS schools. Just a handful of in-state quarterback including Neuqua Valley Mark Gronowski (South Dakota State), Rochester Clay Bruno (Western Illinois) and Normal West Carson Camp (South Dakota) are expected to sign Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The upcoming strong quarterback class in the 2021 group I feel was another huge factor working against the Class of 2020 quarterbacks in the State of Illinois.
Wednesday will be a good day for...
Miami of Ohio- The Redhawks are having a great 2019, including winning the Mid American Conference along with bringing in a strong State of Illinois recruiting group. Maimi of Ohio head coach Chuck Martin and staff will sign six names from the Land of Lincoln including Granite City speedster Freddy Edwards, Montini WR/TE Nate Muersch plus Evanston RB Quadre Nicholson, Crystal Lake South OG Dominic Collado plus Benet Academy DE Jacob Snell and Lincoln Way East K/P Dominic Dzioban.
Iowa- The Hawkeyes are always major players in the State of Illinois when it comes to recruiting and the Hawkeyes and head coach Kirk Ferentz again will land a strong group from Illinois. .The Hawkeyes haul includes all three star ranked names in Oak Lawn Richards RB Leshon Williams along with Byron OL Tyler Elsbury, Barrington DE Lukas VanNess plus Lena Winslow DE Isaiah Bruce and Decatur MacArthur S AJ Lawson.
Western Michigan- The Broncos have a staff filled with State of Illinois roots including head coach Tim Lester and Western Michigan remains a major player in the Land of Lincoln. The Broncos will add five new names including Phillips S Ronald Pledger, Brother Rice S Giacomo Iraci plus Lemont WR Anthony Sambucci, Maine South DB Ryan Kilberg and Shelbyville WR Kentrell Beck.
Northwestern- The Wildcats always make a strong push to sign in-state names. Fortunately for the Wildcats the 2020 class featured some strong academic performers along with some talented names...this is otherwise known as the perfect storm for Wildcats recruiting purposes. Northwestern will have four Chicagoland names sign Letters of Intent in Maine South four star ranked OL Peter Skoronski, Wheaton North three star ranked LB Xander Mueller, Lincoln Way East three star ranked DE Sean McLaughlin along with Lake Zurich three star ranked TE Hunter Welcing. Also the Wildcats are putting together a strong preferred walk on group which includes Glenbard West LB Greyson Metz along with Wheaton South RB Jacob Arthurs plus Lake Zurich WR Jack Moses and Andrew S/DB Joe DeHaan. Greyson Metz turned down various FBS level offers for a chance to walk on to the Northwestern roster.