Fighting Illini football's 2016 recruiting class has added another member. At an announcement ceremony during the halftime of his high school team's scrimmage, three-star linebacker Tim Walton announced his verbal commitment to Illinois. The Detroit native had other offers from Cincinnati, Navy, Western Michigan, Buffalo, Toledo, Ball State, Kent State, and Eastern Michigan.
Beyond Blessed to say that i have officially committed to continue playing football @ The University of Illinois #FightingIllini.— Tim Walton (@__Walt2x) August 16, 2015
Illinois was, obviously, Walton's only Big Ten scholarship and it evidently made a huge impression. He had this to say about the school and coaching staff back in late June (via Scout):
"I really like Illinois, I really do. I've been down there a few times and fell in love with campus. I love the football facilities, love Coach Banks and the whole staff, they're all fired up. I really do enjoy being down at Illinois."
Walton participated in Nike's 'The Opening' scouting combine a few months ago and he was measured at 6'2, 227 lbs. His overall SPARQ rating isn't available because it appears he didn't participate in the 40-yard dash. You can view his complete test results here.
One thing that pops out after watching some of Walton's tape is his versatility. When lined up as a more traditional MLB, he's able to quickly identify and attack developing rushing lanes. Walton also shows some good pass rushing ability while playing what appears to be a LEO-like role on the defensive line.
Overall, Walton looks to be a solid addition to the now 14-man recruiting class. It's too early to project what his long-term position will be, but look for him to play either MLB or LEO during his career in the Orange and Blue.
2016 Recruiting Class:
There's still a lot of time left in the recruiting calendar, but this group is nearing completion. Depending on roster fluctuation Illinois will probably look to add another three to six players. Here are some names to keep an eye on over the next few weeks:
- Bryce Banks (three-star DB) - The Columbia, MO native decommitted from Mizzou after taking a visit to Champaign a few weeks ago. A decision timeframe hasn't been made public, but it's safe to assume that the Illini are in a good position here.
- Braxton Pickard (three-star K) - Pickard is one of the top kickers in the country and he was offered a scholarship while visiting Illinois in early August. The Illini need a quality kicker in the worst way so there'd be an opportunity for him to contribute immediately.
- Harry Ballard (three-star WR) - There hasn't been much news surrounding the 6'2 Missouri native, but a decision is expected before the start of his senior season.