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Three-star linebacker Micah Awodiran commits to Yale over Illinois, Duke, and Vanderbilt

Awodiran was one of Lovie Smith’s top recruiting targets.

Fighting Illini football just lost out on one of their top defensive recruiting targets. Three-star linebacker Micah Awodiran (IL) ended his recruitment on Friday by committing to Yale over Illinois, Duke, and Vanderbilt. The Marist product is the No. 870 overall prospect in 247Sports’ class-of-2017 composite rankings.

I want to start off by giving all the glory to God for putting me in such a blessed position to play the game I love at the next level. Without His guidance and watch over me none of this could have ever came to be. Secondly, I want to thank my family and those who have supported since the days I was Pioneer all the way up to today. Only through your continued love and belief in me could I have achieved any of this, I am greatly indebted to you for the sacrifices made. In addition, I want to thank all my teammates and coaches past and present; the opportunity to learn the game and about life with you guys by my side is one I will never forget. Every coach and teammate that I have had leading up to this has played a significant role in the player and person I have become. To my teachers and administrators who have stuck by me and lead me down the right path and even the ones that challenged me to bring my best, I thank you all.

It is with a joy filled heart that I am announcing my commitment to Yale University to continue my academic and athletic career. Thank you all for giving an African kid from the Northside the tools and support to chase his dreams. Power.

~ Micah Awodiran

Awodiran had other Power 5 offers from Arkansas, Boston College, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Syracuse, Kansas, Maryland, and Purdue. Also involved were Harvard, Pennsylvania, and Princeton.

There's no other way to put it -- this is a bad recruiting loss for Lovie Smith and Illinois. While Awodiran's message seems to suggest he may always have been Ivy League-bound, it doesn't change the fact that he was one the Orange and Blue's top targets. The new head coach clearly remains optimistic with the way things are going in this department, but he has yet to produce the desired results. The program's recruiting class still ranks dead last in the Big Ten because there are only seven players committed. That's not exactly an ideal situation for August 11.

So what's next? I'd expect Illinois to up their pursuit of three-star linebacker DeCalon Brooks (FL). The son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Derrick Brooks was the first player to receive a scholarship offer from this new coaching staff. In the short term, another top target, three-star defensive back Tony Adams, is announcing his choice on Friday. Hopefully the Illini are able to get some momentum back on their side.

Micah Awodiran Highlights