Big news for Illinois football! According to Jeremy Werner, three-star offensive lineman Vederian Lowe (Rockford, IL) gave a verbal commitment to the Fighting Illini after participating in the program's 'Big Man' camp on Sunday afternoon. The monster 6-foot-5, 336-pound prospect is the No. 845 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings.
Auburn's Vederian Lowe officially commits to Lovie Smith (far right) and the Illini today. pic.twitter.com/VuT7t1eO9M— Dan Appino (@dan_appino) June 12, 2016
Illinois appears to have been Lowe's only scholarship offer, but don't let that fool you -- he has the looks of a legitimate power-five player. In fact, his Scout.com profile indicates that Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Stanford, and Missouri had expressed interest.
Lowe's announcement is huge for a few reasons, but it's especially great because Illinois needs to get bigger up front to have consistent success. It also signifies that the in-state perception of the program may be starting to change thanks to Lovie Smith. The Illini only managed to land two Illinois natives (!!) in the class-of-2016, and neither of them were top-30 players.
Lovie Smith has landed 4 commitments. All are in-state prospects. From the state of Illinois. All are legit power-five prospects.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) June 12, 2016
2017 Illinois Football Recruiting Class
Illinois' recruiting class now ranks No. 63 nationally and No. 11 in the Big Ten. More importantly, though, the average recruit rating of 84.36 is up from last year's mark of 81.40. If things hold steady over the next seven months, Lovie Smith will have a very solid group of players.
As it stands now, the program currently has 27 open scholarships for the class-of-2017. So the coaching staff will probably be looking to take 24-27 players, depending on how many walk-ons and/or JUCO players are added before signing day.