Is Lovie Smith targeting a four-star standout from Texas? It definitely appears that way. According to Scout's Greg Powers, dual-threat quarterback Jalen Mayden (Sachse, TX) has recently picked up a scholarship offer from the coaching staff. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound prospect is the No. 9 player at the position (No. 218 overall) in 247Sports' class-of-2018 rankings.
BREAKING: Congrats to 2018 4* QB Jalen Mayden on offer No. 11 from Illinois. https://t.co/VoehGg3RTW pic.twitter.com/jyIwuvLnBh— Greg Powers (@GPowersScout) June 7, 2016
Predictably, Mayden already has an impressive offer list despite having only completed his sophomore year of high school. The scholarships may not be 100% committable, but nevertheless Ohio State, Mississippi State, Louisville, Houston, and Utah are among the involved programs.
Scouting Report (via Scout.com)
Mayden had a very strong year on the football field leading the Mustangs to the playoffs in 2015. He passed for 2,496 yards and rushed for 513 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He was named the Scout Co-Sophomore of the Year and was the 11-6A Sophomore of the Year. Mayden played for Team USA in the Under-16 game in 2016 and was named MVP after throwing 4 TDs and rushing for one to help Team USA beat Alberta 43-6.
The Fighting Illini recently picked up a commitment from three-star Illinois native Cameron Thomas, who's a class-of-2017 prospect. It's early, but there's clear theme developing for the program's new quarterback targets under Lovie Smith and Garrick McGee -- they're prioritizing dual-threat players. We may not see much of a spread-style attack implemented in Year 1 due to the current roster's personnel (hey, Wes Lunt), but this is absolutely something to keep an eye on going forward.