Illini Football surging ahead with 2018 class

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- While Illini fans wait for the 2017 football season to kick off, Lovie Smith and his staff are already well into 2018, or at least the 2018 recruiting trail.

Illinois picked up a huge commitment from defensive tackle Calvin Avery Friday night. He is the second Texas native to commit to the Illini making it eight out-of-state commits in the 2018 class.

The Illini lost out on some big Illinois names recently but their presence in both Florida and the Lone Star state looks promising. Earlier this week Smith talked about just how important those two areas are for him and his staff.

"I think some areas just gravitate to certain schools for whatever reason," Smith said. "We've recruiting players in the past that have had success here. They like the University of Illinois and once you get a couple players it kind of leads to more guys coming. So, that's a hotbed for us. We'll continue to recruit that area hard, and we're getting guys."

For more on the 2018 recruiting class, WCIA3's Craig Choate caught up with IlliniInquirer.com's Jeremy Werner:
 
Craig:
"Alright let's talk a little recruiting here in the midst of training camp. Last year at this time Illinois had about 6-8 commits, this year they're doing a little bit better."
 
Jeremy:
"Yeah, they're about halfway done with their class too. Last year they took a full class, this year they're going to take about 17-20. They've filled some nice needs so far, a lot of prospects out of Florida as well but they're adding some length and some athleticism to the back seven. Also adding some speed to the offense, but more importantly adding a lot of big guys on the offensive line. They're adding some nice depth pieces."
 
Craig:
"One thing that has stuck out to me this class is that the majority of them are from Florida or Texas."
 
Jeremy:
"Yeah, they've really wanted to make some in-roads there. They're missing on some of the top in-state prospects in this class, they did well in 2017 but it's good to have two of the most populous areas, most talent rich resources in Texas and Florida. Florida they did really well last year, they signed seven guys. This year they already have six guys from Florida so Lovie Smith, Hardy Nickerson, Thad Ward really paying off down there. But Andrew Hayes-Stoker in Texas is starting to make some noise and it seems like they are really ready to pounce on some big targets there."
 
Craig:
"Big decision yesterday from defensive tackle Calvin Avery, how does that affect this class?"
 
Jeremy:
"That's a big get. This is the best, highest ranked recruit Lovie has landed. First top 300 prospect, and he's a top 200 prospect consensus. So this is a kid that's 6'2, 310 pounds but he also moves really, really well. So it's a big get in Texas, he comes from a talent rich school, Keivan Meyers also from Bishop Dunne where they are loaded with prospects. So it gets Illinois really a Texas strong hold right now, they got two commitments there, they're hoping it turns into more this class and down the road."
 
Craig:
"Alright, thanks Jeremy. For all your Illini recruiting news, head to IlliniInquirer.com."
 

 


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