Tim Beckman waited until the dark of night to pull in his biggest commitment of the offseason: JUCO DT Jihad Ward.
JIHAD WARD, DT, 4-star
Ward is both massive in rankings and stature. In rankings, he's a four-star recruit, who chose Illinois over offers from Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia. In stature, he's a monstrous 6-foot-8, 285 lbs. Good heavens.
Ward currently stands as Illinois highest rated commit. He's also the sixth JUCO player in a Tim Beckman recruiting class that has filled out nicely of late, especially on the defensive side of the football. Get excited, Illini. There's some quality D-line play waiting for you just on the other side of the offseason.
Recently extended offensive coordinator Bill Cubit was the leading recruiter for Ward, who said he felt a connection with the Illini coach. Here's Ward's quote on his commitment, via Rivals.
"I felt the love when I first got there on my visit," Ward said. "I spoke to my mom about it, and she said go somewhere where you are comfortable, and where they need you. I just can't explain it. I feel so good about myself right now."
Kudos to #illini coaching staff for filling their top needs (DE, DT, WR) in this class with sought-after JUCOs.— Jeremy Werner (@WernerESPNCU) December 20, 2013
No. 35 ranked juco prospect, DT Jihad Ward just committed to Illinois. Big get for Illini: http://t.co/h5IAPBFMEf— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 20, 2013