Clearwater, Florida three-star defensive tackle Jerzhan Newton flipped from the Maryland Terrapins to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Wednesday’s opening of the Early Signing Period.

IlliniInquirer’s Jeremy Werner broke the news on Twitter.

Initially committing to Maryland on August 31, Newton took his official visit to Champaign on December 6. Primarily recruited by defensive line coach Austin Clark, he is the sixth-highest rated of Illinois’ 11 signees.

In this reporter’s opinion, Newton is about a top-500 talent nationally. Somewhat of a “tweener” between tackle and defensive end at 255 pounds, his versatility could work to his benefit moving forward. If Newton can grasp head coach Lovie Smith’s life lessons from his experience in the National Football League, he could be one of the Illini’s highest-ceiling players.

Qualifying for a bowl game for the first time in Smith’s four-year tenure, Illinois (6-6, 4-5 B1G) will square off with the California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on December 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET on FOX.