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Illinois Football: Top 2023 recruit not entering the transfer portal



Malik Elzy

Wide receiver Malik Elzy Tweeted his intentions. He’s staying with Illinois football.

2023 did not go as expected for Illinois football. Malik Elzy wanted the season to go a different way as well. He hoped to start as a true freshman and be the difference maker at wide receiver everyone thought he was. Instead, the Simeon High School product had five catches for 52 yards and one touchdown. Those numbers fell below expectations for everyone, including Elzy.

Elzy battled injuries and had issues with the coaching staff during the season, which was not exactly the start to this Illini career he wanted. There was some thought he might hit the portal for greener pastures. However, Elzy made it known earlier this evening that he wasn’t going anywhere:

His commitment to staying with the program means a ton for Illinois, the staff, and the program. Veteran receiver Isaiah Williams lauded Elzy during the offseason, saying he’s “different.” The quarterback turned receiver saw the difference maker Elzy has the potential to become. The Illini has some excellent receivers on the roster; Elzy has the potential to be the best of the lot.

Recruiting matters

In today’s era of college football, you have to recruit players to your program and recruit the players who are already there. Elzy is a vital player that Illinois needed to keep. First, he’ll be a sophomore next year. Illinois cannot afford to have players transfer after only one year in the program. That is not a good look. Second, Elzy represents rebuilding a pipeline to the city of Chicago. The Chicago Public League has been good to Illinois over the years, not just in football.

With Tysean Griffin coming from Morgan Park, both players represent a commitment to rebuilding relationships with coaches and schools in Chicago, which was lacking in the previous regime.

Elzy can heal and refocus this offseason and realize his All-American potential. He’ll do that in Champaign, and that’s a good thing.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.