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BREAKING: Illinois Football Lands RB Ca’Lil Valentine



Illini football

BREAKING: Illinois Football Lands RB Ca’Lil Valentine

Bret Bielema and his staff have added a premier running back to their already impressive class of 2024. After years of winning recruitments without many power-five offers, Bret Bielema has turned this into a habit. This time, they have beaten out teams who are consistently in the top 25 of college Football. Ca’lil Valentine from Arizona has chosen the Illini over big time offers from Utah, Miami, Oregon and more. Valentine is a speedy running back who will undoubtedly make an impact when he arrives on campus.

After in-state RB, Darrion Dupree committed to Wisconsin, Illinois made news by landing Valentine. This is huge news as Illinois looks to continue Chase Brown’s success at the running back position in the future.

A different kind of back.

Illinois Football already has a talented room of running backs. However, it is predominantly power backs. Guys like Kaden Feagin, Jordan Anderson and Josh McCray are bigger, physical power backs. Outside of those three, Aidan Laughery is more a speed back, while Reggie Love is more of an all-around, every down back. Valentine is 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with extremely fast legs. The Arizona native ran a 10.8 second 100 meter dash. He adds more of a flash to the room along with Laughery that the Illini could really benefit from.

Bret Bielema continues to emphasize that he wants multiple backs capable of playing in the room. After Brown unfortunately had to carry a very heavy load, he has continued to emphasize having different pieces in the room. Valentine is the perfect add to what Illinois has in their backfield. He rushed for 1,347 rushing yards and 18 rush TD as a junior in high school.

Recruiting prowess.

As I said above, Bret Bielema has made it an every day occurrence to fans that they will be involved in power-five recruits. They have put the days of taking flyers on “sleepers” and have landed legit talent at all spots. Bielema and Illinois Football now have to continue that momentum onto the field to show recruits that their sell is quite legit. After an 8-5 season, Bielema is primed to hopefully repeat that same success and even build on it.

Illinois Football has the assistants, the NIL resources and facilities to compete with anyone in the country. Winning Valentine’s talents over his offer list is another example that Illinois Football is an up and coming program.


Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.