In case you haven’t heard, Illinois football’s class of 2023 recruiting efforts are off to a great start so far. The recent commitments of in-state DE Pat Farrell, Kentucky D-lineman Jamarrion Harkless, Florida offensive tackle Rico Jackson and Oklahoma QB Cal Swanson have supplemented an already robust class that’s currently headlined by in-state star Kaden Feagin.
That said, we’re still far from wrapping up the recruiting cycle for 2023, and the Illini have plenty of scholarships to fill. One position group that will certainly see some commits prior to signing day is wide receiver. So far, the 2023 class doesn’t have a single WR commit, but we know that’ll change in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Let’s take a look at two of the top potential targets at that position for Illinois.
The recruitment of Malik Elzy is turning into a standoff between the resurgent Illini, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and traditional Big Ten powers like Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. Illinois hopes he joins Aidan Laughery and Feagin as another highly coveted in-state recruit who stays home, but the competition for his services is fierce.
Unlike Laughery and Feagin, who both grew up close to Champaign, Elzy hails from Chicago and attends Simeon Career Academy. Much like in basketball recruiting, Chicago athletes often gain a high degree of exposure to power programs and are often more heavily recruited than their downstate counterparts. But regardless of where he’s from, Elzy’s skills are truly impressive.
ONE HAND SNAG @BOOMfootball @ColeTeschner @elzy_malik @PapaMeagzz pic.twitter.com/wXTUrxl1qI— Overtime (@overtime) June 11, 2022
2023 4-star WR Malik Elzy (@elzy_malik) with an impressive TD catch @overtime OT7 https://t.co/r0gLar0wvX pic.twitter.com/CBtuBWbsin— On3 Recruits (@On3Recruits) June 12, 2022
Malik Elzy is likely Illinois’ main priority at wide receiver right now, and he would be important addition not only because of his talent, but also because his commitment would be an important Chicago recruiting victory.
The St. Louis area is easily Illinois’ second-most consistent talent pipeline outside of in-state recruiting, and Fredrick Moore could follow Isaiah Williams’ footsteps to Champaign if he so chooses. Moore is another highly sought after WR recruit, who attends Cardinal Ritter College Prep in St. Louis and appears to be mostly considering offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois according to 247.
Had a great weekend illini Style Thanks for the hospitality on my OV@IlliniFootball @CoachGMcDonald @Coach_CPatt pic.twitter.com/1MaaovjigO— Fredrick Moore (@FredrickMoore6_) June 6, 2022
Moore was in attendance at Illinois’ highly successful June 4-5 official visit weekend, but he also visited Ann Arbor this weekend, and will be in East Lansing next weekend. Both the Wolverines and Spartans have quite a bit to sell in terms of recent success, but Illinois can certainly sell playing time, proximity to home, and the success of other St. Louis area athletes at Illinois.
There are certainly other options if Elzy and Moore choose to go elsewhere, but it’s good to see that Illinois is swinging for the fences. Given the recent recruiting success that the Illini have had, that’s certainly the right thing to do.