Illinois football’s pursuit of one of the nation’s top playmakers has taken a rather unexpected turn. Four-star wide receiver and East St. Louis standout Jeff Thomas eliminated the Fighting Illini from his recruitment on Thursday night by narrowing his college list to Louisville, Miami (FL), and Oregon. According to 247Sports, Thomas is the nation’s No. 40 overall prospect and No. 6 wideout.
As recently as January 1, Thomas maintained that the Fighting Illini were his top choice. Those comments came on the heels of a record-setting MVP performance (3 REC for 148 YDS and 2 TD) in the Under Armour All-American game.
Okay.. It's getting short. My Top 3. #Louisville #Miami #Oregon— Jeff Thomas (@Theregoes4) January 20, 2017
This obviously isn’t great news for an Illinois offense that’s been starved of offensive playmakers for about two years now. Even so, the coaching staff still has at least one option left on their recruiting board in three-star WR Reggie Roberson (TX). The former Kansas commit has seemingly been favoring the Illini for quite some time, and in my opinion, he seems to be on the verge of joining three-star WR commits Ricky Smalling (IL) and Carmoni Green (IL) in Champaign.
Illinois has seven remaining scholarships to use on their 2017 recruiting class. You can click here to see a possible best-case scenario for National Signing Day — just make sure you ignore Jeff Thomas’ name at the bottom.