CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — While most Illini eyes are on the start of training camp later this week, some are still looking towards the future. The sight wasn’t too bright last week, but Illinois recently picked up three verbal commits over the course of one week.
Phifer Griffin, a 3-star offensive lineman from North Carolina pledged his verbal on July 21st. Then on July 26th, 4-star quarterback CJ Dixon made his decision to verbal to the orange and blue. Those are commits number four and five for Illinois in the class of 2020. On Sunday, St. Louis offensive lineman Kevin Tyler hopped on board.
Dixon is a big get. He held offers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio State. He is ranked the 285th player in the country by 247sports.
Although the class only has five commits, Lovie Smith and Josh Whitman aren’t worried one bit.
“Absolutely, it’s a little early. They don’t crown a winner after one quarter, right? Our focus as much as anything has been improving this ball club, which we’ve done,” Smith said. “Publicly it’s that we have about seven guys right now, and we’ll be working on those numbers we’ll be fine believe me.”
“Certainly this year we’ll have another small class, we all recognize that. I think it might be smaller than people realize just because of some of the transfers in and out and the blue shirts and all the different things that come into play,” Whitman said. “I’m not worried about that, I think really for me it’s about kicking the ball off on August 31st and seeing how we go out there and compete.”
Their class is ranked 14th in the BigTen, but if you go by average star rating that number jumps to 6th. Illinois starts training camp Friday morning at 10 a.m.