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Illinois flips Oklahoma commit Laine Jenkins

The Illini poach a top-45 JuCo prospect from the Sooners.


Butler Community College edge rusher Laine Jenkins committed to Illinois. The news broke Friday — mere days after Jenkins made a verbal pledge to Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Yes, we live in a timeline in which Illinois flips football prospects from Oklahoma. It’s a glorious time in history, but I would recommend frequently looking outside to make sure frogs are not descending from the heavens.

As for Jenkins himself, he’s a somewhat raw prospect. He’s a piece of long-term clay for an outside linebacker group with future NFL players Seth Coleman and Gabe Jacas projected to start in 2023. Veteran Ezekiel Holmes returns to add depth and experience to Charlie Bullen’s squad.

Also, exciting prospects like redshirt freshman Jared Badie and true freshman Trey Smith make this one of the roster’s most intriguing, competitive position rooms.

Laine Jenkins is another in-state prospect joining an Illini roster that is truly reclaiming its title as the University of Illinois. Jenkins is a Willowbrook native who attended Neuqua Valley High School. Yes, the same school that gave us permanent fan favorite Mike Dudek.

According to 247Sports, Jenkins is the No. 43 overall JuCo player and the third-best JuCo edge rusher in the class of 2023.

Bret Bielema, Charlie Bullen, and Aaron Henry are putting in work to minimize the damage of the departures of Ryan Walters and Kevin Kane. Time will tell how significant Jenkins’ long-term impact will be. But for the time being, it’s pretty damned cool that Oklahoma commits are looking at Champaign-Urbana as a better option.