Lovie Smith and Fighting Illini football just landed one of their top recruiting targets. On Monday morning, three-star quarterback Coran Taylor (IL) became the first member of Illinois’ 2018 class by announcing a verbal commitment to the program on his Twitter page.
According to 247Sports, Taylor is the nation’s No. 974 overall player and No. 34 dual-threat quarterback. While Northwestern and Iowa had displayed interest, Illinois State and Miami (OH) were the only other schools with scholarship offers on the table.
Taylor, a Peoria product, received his scholarship offer shortly after leading the Lions to an IHSA 5A State Championship last Winter. In the victory, Taylor erupted for an impressive individual performance that included 215 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air, and another 134 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Taylor’s entire 2016 season featured 1,542 passing yards, 1,671 rushing yards, 39 total touchdowns, and just 3 interceptions.
Assuming that JUCO commit Dwayne Lawson eventually does end up in Champaign, there’ll be a year of overlap on the depth chart during Taylor’s first season. The first opportunity for Taylor to take over the offense will likely come at the start of the 2019 season, but keep in mind that incoming freshman Cameron Thomas may have an initial leg up on any competition thanks to an extra year of experience.
But, for now, the Fighting Illini can rest easy knowing that they’ve added a dynamic in-state playmaker to the fold. This development could play a key role on the recruiting front, too, as Taylor has already informed Illini Inquirer of plans to get involved with other priority targets.