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Beckman inks 12 more on Signing Day

Tim Beckman signed 12 new players on National Signing Day Wednesday, giving him 18 total new faces for next year's incoming class. It's a group that doesn't exactly have the national experts buzzing, but it does fill some positions of need.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman signed 12 new players on National Signing Day Wednesday, giving him 18 total new faces for next year's incoming class.  It's a group that doesn't exactly have the national experts buzzing, but it does fill some positions of need.

Five junior college players are at the top of the class, led by 4-star defensive lineman Jihad Ward.  Beckman is hoping Ward and the rest of the JUCO group will be able to contribute immediately.

"We needed some immediate depth - some immediate impact," Beckman said.  "I think that's why they chose Illinois.  They know they can make an impact in our program quickly."

Beckman added ten defensive players, including four defensive lineman.  That should help bolster a unit that was among the worst in the Big Ten last year.  Illinois also added some skill position players on offense, including four receivers and a running back.  Only five of the team's 18 recruits are from the state of Illinois.  Beckman says he would like that number to be higher.

"That's our goal.  We can't get them all," Beckman said.  "Not all of them fit in our program.  We understand that.  But we also understand it is very, very important."

One of the in-state players who decided to stay home and play for Illinois is Springfield (SHG) wide receiver Malik Turner.  The three-star recruit signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, and he stressed the importance of playing for Illinois.

"It's great to stay here," Turner said.  "Everybody that has watched me grow up as a player and as a man can come see me play.  To have that support here is special."

Turner will be one of a number of freshmen hoping to contribute immediately.  Turner, along with fellow wide receivers Geronimo Allison, Mike Dudek and Tyrin-Stone Davis could all compete for playing time on a unit depleted by graduation.

"One of the big reasons I went there is I know I have a better chance of getting involved in the offense early," Turner said.  "So it's really what I make of it there, and how I progress in the offense and learn it."

As for how the class ranks, the experts say it is among the lowest in the new 14-team Big Ten.  Rivals and 247 Sports rank the class as 13th out of 14 in the conference.  Scout.com ranks the class at the bottom of the league.  Some of that has to do with the fact that Illinois signed fewer players (18) than many of the other schools.

Here's the full list of signees, as provided by the University of Illinois.
2014 University of Illinois Football Signees (18)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Last College
Nick Allegretti OL 6-4 300 Frankfort, Ill. / Lincoln-Way East HS
Geronimo Allison * WR 6-3 185 Tampa, Fla. / Spoto HS / Iowa Western CC
Chayce Crouch * QB 6-4 225 Granville, Ohio / Newark Catholic HS
Peter Cvijanovic * OL 6-6 280 Concord Township, Ohio / Benedictine HS / East Coast Prep
Matt Domer RB 5-11 190 Hazel Crest, Ill. / Mount Carmel HS
Mike Dudek * WR 5-11 180 Naperville, Ill. / Neuqua Valley HS
Joe Fotu * DL 6-3 275 San Leandro, Calif. / San Leandro HS / Laney Community College
Julian Hylton DB 6-0 190 Tinley Park, Ill. / Lincoln-Way North HS
Chris James DB 5-11 185 Orange, Texas / West Orange-Stark HS
Paul James III * DL 6-3 240 Miami, Fla. / Norland HS
Henry McGrew LB 6-3 235 Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley HS
Tito Odenigbo DL 6-3 275 Centerville, Ohio / Centerville HS
Carroll Phillips LB 6-3 225 Miami, Fla. / Miami Central HS/Coiah Lincoln CC
Austin Roberts LB 6-2 220 Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake HS
Tyrin Stone-Davis WR 6-3 195 Philadelphia, Pa. / Mastbaum Area VTS / Pierce College (Calif.)
Malik Turner WR 6-3 205 Springfield, Ill. / Sacred Heart-Griffin HS
Jihad Ward DL 6-6 285 Philadelphia, Pa. / Edward Bok Vo-Tech HS / Globe Tech (NY)
Tre Watson LB 6-2 240 Tampa, Fla. / Tampa Catholic HS

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