Jahleel Billingsley has committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
COMMITTED. pic.twitter.com/UovkLXy63U— JahleelBillingsley (@JahleelKnowsss) July 6, 2018
Billingsley is a top five rated player in the state of Illinois and a top 15 tight end nationally.
Illinois was in contention for Billingsley, and were recruiting him earlier in the process than most other schools. He released a top seven list back in March that listed Illinois among others, but most notably not Alabama.
Top 7!! No Particular Order. #GoFrogs #GoBlue #GoBucks⭕️#WeAre #ILLGang19 #HottyToddy #GoGators pic.twitter.com/Qn4NgdqbJY— JahleelBillingsley (@JahleelKnowsss) March 14, 2018
It’s not terribly surprising given that Alabama not only the best college football team in America, but they are also one of the few teams that heavily utilize tight ends in their offense.
Illinois on the other hand is switching to a run-heavy option offense under new offensive coordinator Rod Smith. While working as an assistant under Rich Rodriguez, their offenses never used tight ends heavily in the passing game, and Illinois also has a young TE in Louis Dorsey on the roster.
But still there was hope. Billingsley wore Illinois gear at several high profile events.
invites to #TheOpening Finals from the Ohio Regional.— The Opening (@TheOpening) May 5, 2018
Many more to come... pic.twitter.com/iwB1GvtRPS
4-Star Chicago Phillips TE Jahleel Billingsley at the Under Armour Camp. #illini target with some interesting apparel.https://t.co/rk7Xww9DO6 pic.twitter.com/80ZiS6qzln— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) May 6, 2018
At the end of the day, Alabama is nearly impossible to turn down. They will continue to be in the national title hunt each year, and have an offense that better fits Billingsley’s skill set.
Illinois is in many recruting battles with some of the blue bloods of college football, and when you are Illinois, you will lose more of those battles than you win.
In another world where Illinois was a team that consistently went to bowl games, Illinois could have had a shot at a recruit like Billingsley. Illinois will have to start showing some more promise in order to keep some elite in-state prospects in Illinois.
According to 247 Sports the 2019 class for Illinois currently ranks 57th nationally and 12th in the Big Ten.
Illinois Football 2019 Commits July 6
|Isaiah Williams||QB/Ath||5' 10"||170 lbs||St. Louis|
|Marquez Beason||WR/DB||5' 11"||173 lbs||Dallas|
|Bryce Childress||WR||5' 9"||159 lbs||St. Louis|
|Joseph Thompson||DB||5' 10"||160 lbs||Chicago|
|Griffin Moore||TE||6' 4"||225 lbs||Bloomington, Ill.|
|D'Ante Cox (Walk-on transfer)||WR||6' 1"||180 lbs||Rochester, Ill.|
|Kyron Cumby||RB||5' 7"||160 lbs||Plano, Texas|
|Nick Fedanzo||RB||6' 0"||200 lbs||Lombard, Ill.|
|Camilo Eifler (Transfer)||LB||6' 1"||225 lbs||Berkley, Calif.|
|Fabian McCray||WR||6' 1"||177 lbs||Chicago|
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