One of the most important aspects of the Tim Beckman firing is its impact on Illinois football's recruiting efforts. Currently, the Illini have received verbal commitments from 15 high school players (14 of which are in the class of 2016) and you can bet that each one of them will be reconsidering their decisions during the ongoing transition.
Signing day is still months away so it's likely that several of the aforementioned recruits will have changes of heart, but the early reports have definitely been encouraging. Six players--headlined by four-star running back Kentrail Moran--have already reaffirmed their commitments to the Illini, mostly citing their relationships with some of the assistant coaches.
#Illini commit Kentrail Moran, 4-star RB from O'Fallon: "I am still committed to Illinois. Nothing has changed." pic.twitter.com/n0zU9e60oE— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
2016 quarterback Eli Peters says he is still 100% committed to the #Illini pic.twitter.com/KCEQXRhCcE— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
Wide receiver Dominic Thieman from @STA_Football sticking with #Illini. pic.twitter.com/BpVPAi8ta9— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
#Illini commit Josh Black, in-state defensive end, plans to stick with Illinois pic.twitter.com/IMzVYECBqw— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
Offensive line commit Jake Cerny says #Illini staff has reached out, plans to stick with Illinois. pic.twitter.com/Nzb5xHBphu— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
2017 RB commit Mike Epstein will stick with #Illini, sites great relationship with his recruiter Ryan Cubit. pic.twitter.com/vwx0eCWcqi— Doug Bucshon (@IllinoisRivals) August 29, 2015
On the surface it may seem a bit surprising that these players have already announced plans to stick with the school, but keep in mind that they were already well aware of Beckman's job security at Illinois. Looking more broadly at the 2016 recruiting class, Illinois is the only high-major scholarship offer for a lot of the players and that'll surely be a factor in similar announcements going forward.
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