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Illinois currently owns the No. 53-ranked recruiting class in the country for 2018.

Illinois 2018 recruiting rankings: Where the Fighting Illini’s class ranks nationally, in conference

National Signing Day is here for Illinois and the rest of college football. Below, fine where the Illini rank with the 2018 recruiting class.

Where Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class ranks nationally

Going into National Signing Day, 247Sports had Illinois’ Class of 2018 ranked as the No. 53 class nationally. The class going into February consisted of two 4-star players who had signed their letters of intent in Calvin Avery, a defensive tackle, and Verdis Brown, a center.

Outside of Avery and Brown, the Fighting Illini’s other 16 players who had signed were ranked as 3-star recruits. Certain schools, such as Pittsburgh (ranked No. 51) have no 4-star or 5-star rated players and have fewer signed recruits altogether.

Depending on who the recruits are, however, a certain score for one player can be higher than another in 247Sports’ rankings. Illinois (No. 53), for example, had a total team score of 178.92 going into National Signing Day. Georgia Tech, at No. 47, had a score of 181.82.

That same differential, from No. 53-47, was essentially the same as the difference between No. 27 Oklahoma State and No. 26 N.C. State.

Where Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class ranks in the Big Ten

The Fighting Illini ranked as having the No. 13 class in the Big Ten going into National Signing Day.

Here is how the conference looked going into the month of February:

  • No. 1 Ohio State — 311.17 points
  • No. 2 Penn State — 280.44 points
  • No. 3 Michigan — 241.91 points
  • No. 4 Nebraska — 215.73 points
  • No. 5 Maryland — 213.86 points
  • No. 6 Michigan State — 209.30 points
  • No. 7 Minnesota — 206.95 points
  • No. 8 Iowa — 197.76 points
  • No. 9 Wisconsin — 193.27 points
  • No. 10 Indiana — 187.28 points
  • No. 11 Purdue — 186.48 points
  • No. 12 Rutgers — 181.23 points
  • No. 13 Illinois — 178.92 points
  • No. 14 Northwestern — 174.19 points

Where Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class ranks historically

The 2018 season will be coach Lovie Smith’s third with the Fighting Illini and he was hired in March, 2016. Being hired in March means that the 2018 class will be his second full recruiting class with the team.

In 2017, the Fighting Illini — according to 247Sports — had the No. 46-ranked class in the country and No. 10 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at Illinois’ last five classes:

  • 2018 — No. 53 overall, No. 13 Big Ten
  • 2017 — No. 46 overall, No. 10 Big Ten
  • 2016 — No. 73 overall, No. 13 Big Ten
  • 2015 — No. 48 overall, No. 8 Big Ten
  • 2014 — No. 72 overall, No. 14 Big Ten

The last five years haven’t been great for Illinois recruiting. Even in 2015, the Fighting Illini got a top-10 class in the Big Ten, but it still ranked in the bottom half of the conference technically.

The last time the team has ranked in the top 40 was back in 2011. That year, Illinois ranked 37th overall and No. 8 in the Big Ten.

Historically, the team will pull one or two (sometimes zero) 4-star recruits in a given class. In 2018, Illinois currently has two. Back in 2017 — in Smith’s first recruiting class — he got zero recruits ranked above a 3-star.

Not that recruiting rankings are everything, but there is something to be said for Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State consistently churning out top-10 and top-5 recruiting classes year in and year out.

Since the College Football Playoff has been brought upon the world, only those three teams have ended the season itself with a trophy and a No. 1 ranking.


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