Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini are receiving a visit from one of the nation’s top players on Saturday. Jeremy Werner has reported that Four-star wideout Jeff Thomas (IL) will be in Champaign this afternoon to watch training camp and tour team facilities. The 5-foot-10 East St. Louis native is the No. 52 overall player in 247Sports’ class-of-2017 composite rankings.
QUICK STORY: #illini hosting top-50 prospect, East St. Louis WR Jeff Thomas on Saturdayhttps://t.co/yN7sjYVNre— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) August 6, 2016
Thomas narrowed his list to Alabama, Michigan State, Florida State, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Missouri back in May. The star receiver also has notable Power 5 offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, and Miami (FL). So, clearly, the Illini have quite a bit more work to do if they have any hope of being considered as a destination. This campus visit is a huge step, though, because it gives the new coaching staff an opportunity to make their pitch face-to-face for the first time.
But what exactly would Thomas bring to the Orange and Blue? Speed, and lots of it. At Nike’s ‘The Opening’ Final (an all-star combine for high school prospects), the star receiver ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. Additionally, he won the ‘fastest man’ competition over top recruits Salvon Ahmed, Darnay Holmes, Donovan Johnson and Chris Henderson.
Top100 WR Jeff Thomas wins fastest man #TheOpening pic.twitter.com/AisEeQJr4t— Hank South (@HankSouth247) July 8, 2016
Jeff Thomas Highlights