It's February 1st, meaning we're officially in the home stretch for the 2015 football recruiting cycle. Wednesday is National Signing Day. While nothing is finalized until then, most players have already declared where they intend to suit up in the fall but there are a decent amount that haven't yet made that life-altering choice.
Using 247's composite rankings, the 2015 Fighting Illini football recruiting class is ranked 51st in the nation and 8th in the Big Ten. For a team coming off a 6-7 season, that feels about right. That could all change though, as there are six remaining players with offers out that the Illini have legitimate chances to snag. We'll be sure to keep you updated.
Nick Dawson- OLB
0.8610 McDonough, GA
The Illini already have two linebackers in the 2015 class, but Dawson ranks higher than both. Other major schools Dawson has offers from include Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, Syracuse, and Virginia. The Cardinals are the odds on favorite, but stranger things have happened.
A.D. Miller- WR
0.8525 Dallas, TX
You probably remember Miller as that tall wide receiver from Texas who committed to the Illini this summer and made us all super happy. And then he decommitted on January 17th. Miller's offer list includes California, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan State, and a few dozen more. The main competitors for him appear to be Kentucky and Oklahoma. So why am I including him still? Because he was in Champaign this weekend.
(NOTE: There are some conflicting reports regarding Miller's whereabouts this weekend; some Twitter dot com people say that he was at Oklahoma instead)
Ke'Shawn Vaughn- RB
0.8953 Nashville, TN
There are currently three running back commits in the 2015 class, so it's not exactly a position of need. But when you can add a consensus four star recruit at any position, you do it in a heartbeat. Vaughn's offer list includes West Virginia, Purdue, Notre Dame, Louisville, Ohio State, and more. Ke'Shawn visited Champaign last weekend and the coaching staff has been making a hard push for him as of late. It's a three horse race between us, the Mountaineers, and the Boilermakers at this point. The good news? His last two crystal ball predictions have been us.
Jamal Milan- DT
0.8494 Chicago, IL
As I mentioned recently, there are currently zero defensive line recruits in this year's class. That's a very dangerous thing and it reminds me of Ron Zook not recruiting any safeties. We've added a good amount of defensive linemen over the past couple years, but it's just like the offensive line: there is no such thing as too much. Milan would need to redshirt to add some size, but he'd be a useful weapon up the middle. His offer list includes Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, and Maryland. It's either going to be Illinois or Minnesota and he's spent the last two weekends visiting both (us more recently though).
Trenard Davis- ATH
0.8440 Delray Beach, FL
Davis is listed as an athlete, but his highlight tapes show mostly as a wide receiver and a corner back with a surprising amount of thrown TD passes for good measure. He's going to be one of those guys you just plug where you need the talent and let him figure out the details. His offer sheet includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. The Badgers were the favorite, but as of Thursday he cancelled his visit to Madison. So where did he spend his last weekend before NSD? Champaign.
Cameron Watkins- CB
0.7906 Nashville, TN
At first glance, Watkins isn't the most impressive prospect. The Illini currently have two corner prospects ranked higher than him. But Watkins has been getting more attention because of what he might be able to bring with him: high school teammate and friend Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Cameron was in Champaign this weekend and it's likely either coming down to us or Vanderbilt.