WCIA — Illinois football made the most of its bye week from a recruiting standpoint. The Illini added their third commit on Monday in the past five days, with Alex Bray pledging to play for Orange and Blue. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound edge rusher received an offer from the Illini last Monday and wasted little time committing to the school that offered him his first Power 5 offer. The Chesterfield, Missouri native is a 3-star prospect, according to 247Sports, and picked Illinois ahead of several FCS offers, in addition to three Group of 5 schools in Ohio, Kent State and New Mexico State.

The Illini (6-1, 3-1 B1G) coaching staff had plenty to sell on the recruiting trail during the bye week and used the the team’s recent success to their advantage while visiting prospects across the country for both next season and beyond. Illinois returned to the practice field on Sunday for the first time with a full workout in preparation for this Saturday’s game at Nebraska. With five games remaining in the regular season, the Illini sit atop the Big Ten West standings. Head coach Bret Bielema says as his team enters the ‘home stretch’ of its season, he wants his guys as fresh as possible.

“We’ve definitely gotten in good work,” Bielema said about the bye week. “I think for us, we recognize we have Nebraska but we have a four-game, two home and two away that we have to be at our best in every one of those but also understand that there is a steady crescendo to the end of it.”

Illinois and Nebraska kickoff at 2:30 p.m. in Lincoln Saturday afternoon on ABC.