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Four-star WR Jeff Thomas names Illinois his leader after Under Armour All-American Game

Thomas hopes to take an official visit to Champaign later this month.

Photo: Matt Stamey, USA TODAY Sports

As if there was any doubt heading into the annual Under Armour All-American game, Jeff Thomas is perhaps the most electrifying prospect in the nation. The East St. Louis star led Team Armour to a 24-21 victory over Team Highlight on the back of a record-setting performance that included 3 receptions for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Thomas became the first receiver to ever score multiple touchdowns in the showcase event and, ironically enough, his 148 yards broke a mark set by current ESL coach and former Fighting Illini defensive back Terry Hawthorne.

The four-star wideout has already received a few Power 5 scholarship offers since Sunday, however he was quick to point out his leader during a recent interview with Rivals.

“Illinois is still my leader. I’ve talked with Lovie Smith a lot during the process but it’s kind of slowing down because of the dead period. I’m hopefully going to take an official there later this month so we’ll see what happens.”

That’s right — Fighting Illini football is currently out in front for their top recruiting target. Thomas already took several unofficial visits to Champaign in the Fall, and he’s hoping to make a return trip at some point later this month. Unfortunately for Illinois, though, the 5-foot-10 playmaker will also be checking out Oregon, Tennessee, and Miami (FL) in the coming weeks. Thomas informed an ESPN sideline reporter that he’s planning to make a decision on National Signing Day, so the Orange and Blue have about a month left to seal the deal.

Illinois’ search for playmakers on the outside has already yielded commitments from three-star WR Ricky Smalling (IL) and three-star WR Carmoni Green (FL; early enrollee), and due to lack of production from current players, the 2017 class has room for another 1-3 at the position. Adding a Top-50 option such as Thomas would seemingly provide the offense with instant credibility ahead of Lovie Smith’s second season.