Illinois lands pledge from East St. Louis LB in 2023 class
Illinois has received its second commitment of the 2023 recruiting class.
Tuesday, Bret Bielema and his staff received a verbal pledge from 3-star linebacker Antwon Hayden, a native of East St. Louis. He joins fellow in-state prospect Kaden Feagin, a 4-star athlete out of Arthur, Ill.
Hayden announced his decision with a post on Twitter on Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker held offers from 11 other programs before committing to the Fighting Illini.
COMMITTED‼️Thank You GOD‼️
Let’s Go #FamILLy23 ! @BretBielema @Coach_CPatt @UofIllinoisABuh @TerryHawthorne1 @IlliniFootball
Thank You @DarrenSunkett !! @Football_Flyers #LLJM3🕊. #LLAL🕊#LLKAM🕊#LLBigTick🕊 pic.twitter.com/sTHFYYeeAm
— Antwon “Jojo” Hayden (@AntwonHayden) March 29, 2022
According to 247Sports, Hayden is listed as the No. 14 player from the state of Illinois and is the No. 57 linebacker in the 2023 class. Overall, the East St. Louis native ranks among the Top 700 prospects for his recruiting cycle.
Other programs to extend an offer to the linebacker include Arkansas State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Miami (OH) and Toledo. He also held multiple FCS offers.
It’s still early in the recruiting class but Illinois is now up to two verbal commitments with the 2023 class. Both are in-state prospects, which speaks to Bielema’s desire to recruit the state well.
Last season, Illinois finished the year with a 5-7 record but posted road wins over Minnesota and Penn State before defeating Northwestern in the season finale.