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National Signing Day 2016: Previewing Illinois Fighting Illini football's latest recruiting class

Here's what you need to know for Fighting Illini Football's big day.

It's been a hectic few weeks for college coaches across the country, but all that hard work on the recruiting trail is about to pay off in a big way. Throughout Wednesday, prospects from all over the country will sign their National Letters of Intent and officially join college football programs. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but tomorrow's events will play a monumental role in deciding the 2018, 2019, and 2020 College Football Playoff participants.

But this is an Illinois blog, so none of that really matters.

Given the circumstances in Champaign, Bill Cubit and his assistant coaches have actually managed to scrap together a surprisingly decent recruiting class. The program has 26 players ready to sign their NLOI's, and there's still time for several more to join that group.

So without further adeiu, here's a quick preview of what to expect from Fighting Illini football's 2016 National Signing Day.

Who does Illinois already have committed?

Note: click on links for more information on each verbal commitment.

Three-star TE Zarrian Holcombe (Humble, TX)

Three-star LB De'le Harding (Elkton, MD)

Three-star QB Eli Peters (Jacksonville, FL) | EARLY SIGNEE

Three-star OL Kurt Gavin (Frankfort, IL)

Three-star DT Kenyon Jackson (Little Rock, AR)

Three-star DL Tymir Oliver (Philadelphia, PA)

Three-star OL Jake Cerny (Traverse City, MI)

Three-star TE Andrew Trainer (Richmond, VA)

Three-star OL Darta Lee (Missouri City, TX)

Three-star OL Eddy Fish (Groton, MA)

Three-star WR Dominic Thieman (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Three-star LB Christion Abercrombie (Atlanta, GA)

Three-star DE Brandon Jones (Columbia, MO)

Three-star K James McCourt (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Three-star OG Doug Kramer (Hinsdale, IL) | GRAYSHIRT

Three-star DE Izon Pulley (Olney, MD)

Three-star RB Tre Nation (Leeds, AL)

Three-star LB Jake Hansen (Tarpon Springs, FL)

Three-star CB Harvey Clayton Jr. (Miami, FL)

Three-star CB Stanley Green (East St. Louis, IL)

Two-star LB Ayo Shogbonyo (Arlington, TX)

Two-star TE Griffin Palmer (St. Louis, MO)

Two-star S Evan Jones (Conyers, GA)

Two-star CB Ahmari Hayes (San Mateo, CA) | JUCO, EARLY SIGNEE

Two-star WR M.J. McGriff (Vero Beach, FL)

Two-star S Trenard Davis (Delray Beach, FL) | EARLY SIGNEE

How does Illinois' current class stack up with the rest of the Big Ten?

Illinois' recruiting class is predictably right near the bottom of the conference. The following will likely be changing throughout the day, but here are the updated standings from 247Sports (national ranking in parenthesis):

  1. Ohio State (2)
  2. Michigan (6)
  3. Penn State (13)
  4. Michigan State (14)
  5. Nebraska (24)
  6. Wisconsin (30)
  7. Minnesota (41)
  8. Iowa (45)
  9. Maryland (47)
  10. Northwestern (49)
  11. Indiana (61)
  12. Illinois (67)
  13. Rutgers (71)
  14. Purdue (81)

How many spots does Illinois have left?

The Fighting Illini have a total of 26 out of a possible 28 verbal commitments. However, two of those -- Devin Singletary and Juwuane Parchman -- are unlikely to sign National Letters of Intent. So, basically, that means Illinois could take up to four more players without getting themselves into scholarship problems. Keep in mind that number could increase if there are more decommitments.

Which targets will be announcing on Wednesday?

Illinois' recruiting targets are all over the place (translation: I don't know for sure who they're still going after), but here are some names to keep an eye on during National Signing Day.

Three-star OL Trevour Simms (East St. Louis, IL)

Schools: Illinois, Missouri

Three-star RB David Montgomery (Cincinnati, OH)

Schools: Illinois, Iowa State, Army, Ball State, Miami (OH)

Three-star WR Thomas Geddis (Pompano Beach, FL)

Schools: Illinois, Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Toledo

Three-star S Keevon Harris (Leavittsburgh, OH)

Schools: Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio, Bowling Green, Kent State, Toldeo

Three-star WR Harry Ballard (Florissant, MO)

Schools: Illinois, Iowa State

Two-star DT Myles Adams (Arlington, TX)

Schools: Illinois, Rice

Should you tweet at these undecided recruits?


Will Illinois hold a press conference on Wednesday?

Yes, they will. Bill Cubit is scheduled to address the media at 2:00pm CT to break down the program's new additions. You can watch him live right here. Illinois football will also be updating that page throughout the day as each verbal commitment signs their National Letter of Intent -- so that'll be handy to keep open in another tab.

What about the Big Ten Network? Will they have any NSD coverage?

You bet! BTN will air an eight-hour (!!) National Signing Day show from 8:00am-4:00pm CT. Here the details from their press release:

- Live look-ins at both Michigan's "Signing of the Stars" and Northwestern's special event at the iconic Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago;
- BTN Analyst Gerry DiNardo's extensive one-on-one interview with Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer;
- Behind-the-scenes action from war rooms at Nebraska and Penn State;
- And interviews with coaches and signees already on campus.

Mike Hall will handle hosting duties with analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, and the trio will be joined by recruiting analyst Allen Trieu as they provide an in-depth analysis of each school's class. BTN reporters will be on-site at eight schools, including Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska.

In addition, using the Twitter Q&A app, Hall, Griffith, DiNardo, Trieu will respond by video to fans who submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #SigningDayOnBTN.

Other Helpful Recruiting Links

The differences between redshirting, grayshirting, blueshirting and greenshirting

25 lies you will tell yourself on National Signing Day

The 7-step case to proving NSD player rankings matter

How rare is it to be a blue-chip recruit?