Illinois is keeping one player in Champaign for the 2022 season.

On Sunday, defensive back Kendall Smith announced he was staying with the Illini for his final year of eligibility. Smith had previously entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of the regular season.

A member of the 2017 recruiting class, Smith was originally recruited as a wide receiver:

Smith recorded 13 tackles with the Illini during the 2021 season. Under normal circumstances, it would have been Smith’s final year of eligibility but he will use the extra year of eligibility provided by COVID with the Illini.

Recruited as a 3-star receiver out of Bolingbrook, Illinois, Smith transitioned to the defensive side of the ball. He has 31 tackles and a forced fumble in his career.