Flirting with disaster? Illinois moves on from Lovie Smith just days before the Early Signing Period
Lovie Smith is reportedly out as head coach at Illinois and with his dismissal, Illinois’ already lackluster recruiting class is teetering on falling apart.
Ahead of Wednesday’s early signing day, any hope of holding together a class that is ranked No. 70 nationally and is near the bottom of the Big Ten according to most recruiting evaluators is likely gone. Illinois struggled this year to keep up with recruiting among their peers in one of the nation’s most competitive conferences.
This likely means that the vast majority of their class will stay committed, waiting and seeing who Illinois hires, deferring to sign in February on National Signing Day but also listening to see what other offers are coming around. Some players, likely those with close ties to Smith and his staff, will de-commit and re-open their commitment.
It will be interesting to see what happens with a few of the higher ranked commits that Smith did pull in. A few names to watch among players currently committed:
- Brody Wisecarver is a highly ranked guard, a three-star who 247Sports has as the sixth player in Missouri. He could have a number of Big Ten and Big XII suitors if he re-opens his commitment.
- Daniel Edwards is a three-star cornerback out of Florida who had several SEC offers (Auburn, Ole Miss) to go along with Miami and Louisville when he committed to the Illini in May. If those offers are still committable, he could potentially be a target on the recruiting trail again.
- The No. 16 center in the nation, Josh Kreutz was a bit under-recruited when he committed to Smith in July. A few ‘Power 5’ schools could have interest now.
Likely the biggest risks are going to be the recruits from Florida, where Illinois has heavily recruited under Smith. Those players are less likely to have the strong ties to the region and the school.
Six players from the ‘Sunshine State’ are part of the current 15 commits to Illinois. Two more are from Georgia. That means that, potentially, half the class could be a flight risk over the coming days ahead of the early signing period.