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Recapping the Illini’s signees from this past football recruiting weekend



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Sep 14, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Mike Epstein (26) and his teammates pat a memorial of Harold E. "Red" Grange prior to the first half against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Recapping the Illini’s signees from this past football recruiting weekend

Illinois football had one of its busiest recruiting weekends of the early cycle this past weekend. The Illini hosted several recruits, many signing at some point over the weekend or on Monday. Consequently, it is clear from who the Illini signed the direction head coach Bret Bielema and the staff are going to compete in the new-look Big Ten. Illinois had six recruits sign, and the focus was the trenches and speed. The Illini signed two defensive linemen, one offensive lineman, two wide receivers, and a linebacker.

Key signees

Head coach Bret Bielema and his recruiting staff have made an effort to rebuild the pipeline to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Former head coach Lovie Smith had little interest in keeping during his time in Champaign. Defensive lineman Eddie Tuerk is from the western suburb of La Grange, Illinois. Tysean Griffin, a Morgan Park High School product, is from the Chicago Public League. Pair those with 2023 four-star recruit Malik Elzy — Chicago Public League’s 2023 top recruit –, and you have the beginning of quite the pipeline.

Winning Power Five Recruiting Battles

One of the more impressive aspects of Illinois’ early recruiting haul is the number of signees that also had offers from Power Five schools. Illinois beat out Oklahoma, BYU, and Arizona State for linebacker Easton Baker. Tysean Griffin had offers from Arkansas, Boston College, and Iowa State. The Illini beat out Big Ten rivals Nebraska and Maryland for interior lineman Zafir Stewart. Defensive tackle Eddie Tuerk signed with Illinois over interstate rival Northwestern, Big Ten rival Iowa, and Iowa and Kansas from the Big 12.

These signees prove that the Illini are upping the ante on the level of recruit they are trying to sign. So, Bielema and his staff realize that the degree of difficulty increases with USC and UCLA coming in 2024.


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.