After Friday, high school recruits can’t sign national letters of intent until Feb. 6.
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Defensive end Keith Randolph pulled on a cap with “Littyville” spelled across the front.
That was good news for Illinois, which had hoped the Belleville West star would select the Illini over Michigan State. The Illini have nicknamed Champaign “Littyville” as a recruiting pitch.
It seemed to have worked on Randolph, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound three-star recruit who was ranked No. 9 in the state.
His signing at his high school on Wednesday morning pushed Illinois’ recruiting class to 11 players and to a No. 66 ranking nationally despite the small size. The Illini are ranked 13th in the Big Ten.
The signing of Seth Coleman, a three-star defensive end from Florida, was a relief for the Illini. Utah had made a late and aggressive push for Coleman, who had committed to Illinois in July.
The Illini also signed four-star quarterback Isaiah Williams, the ninth-highest-rated player to sign with them in the recruiting rankings era, according to 247Sports.com, and four-star cornerback Marquez Beason, the highest-ranked recruit to sign with the Illini since Terry Hawthorne in 2009.
Beason ranks 84th nationally and is the No. 14 prospect in Texas. He chose Illinois over Nebraska, Arizona, Arizona State and Arkansas.
Williams, who played at St. Louis’ Trinity Catholic, is ranked 109th nationally and is the top-rated recruit in Missouri.
Illinois also received early letters from five other three-star recruits: defensive end Moses Okpala from St. Louis, cornerback Joseph Thompson from Phillips, offensive tackle Evan Kirts from Brother Rice, running back Nick Fedanzo from Montini and tight end Griffin Moore from Bloomington.
The Illini were awaiting letters from two Texas players (Kyron Cumby and Casey Washington).
Four offensive linemen, including top-200 players Quinn Carroll, Zeke Correll and John Olmstead, were among the first round of Notre Dame signees.
Carroll, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle from Edina, Minn., is the No. 108 player nationally and the top-ranked player in the state according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
“(Carroll) is a physical player who sets the tone every day,” Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn wrote on Twitter. “Has the size and length we look for at the OT position.”
Correll, a 6-4, 285-pound guard from Cincinnati, is the No. 119 national prospect, and Olmstead, a 6-6, 300-pound tackle from Metuchen, N.J., is No. 180. Carroll, Correll and Olmstead and the fourth lineman on the list, tackle Andrew Kristofic, are four-star recruits.
Notre Dame’s list of offensive signees also includes three-star quarterback Brendon Clark and three-star wide receiver Cam Hart.
The Irish added to their secondary with four-star cornerback K.J. Wallace and defensive back Litchfield Ajavon.
Linebackers Osita Ekwonu and Jack Kiser also signed. Ekwonu is a four-star recruit. Kiser, a three-star recruit, was recently named Indiana’s Mr. Football.
Kyle Hamilton, a four-star safety from Atlanta, is the highest-ranked player to join Notre Dame’s class. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Hamilton is the No. 103 player nationally.
“A lengthy athlete with great range and incredible athleticism,” Irish defensive backs coach Terry Joseph wrote of Hamilton on Twitter.
The second wave of additions featured four four-star defensive linemen in Jacob Lacey, NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Hunter Spears and Howard Cross III.
The updated list also included four-star linebacker JD Bertrand, four-star defensive back Isaiah Rutherford, four-star running back Kyren Williams and three-star wide receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman.
Notre Dame also added three-star punter Jay Bramblett.
The Irish signed all 21 of their oral commitments. Three-star linebacker Marist Liufau, from Hawaii, was the 21st to sign. He attends Punahou, the same school as former Irish great Manti Te’o.
Northwestern’s latest crop of players signs off on social media posts with “#NULevel19.” Think “new level” — a higher level is the goal — and 2019.
The pundits view this class as a small step up from previous ones. With an average player rating of .859 on the 247Sports composite, the class represents an uptick from 2018 (.854), 2017 (.850), 2016 (.845) and 2015 (.841). Call it Northwestern inflation.
The 2019 class, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten and 44th nationally, features two intriguing skill-position players at the top — receivers Bryce Kirtz (6-0, 180) and Genson Hooper-Price (6-4, 206). Hooper-Price turned down the likes of Notre Dame and Nebraska. Kirtz played at Indiana’s Brownsburg High School, the school that produced quarterback Hunter Johnson, the transfer from Clemson expected to take over for Clayton Thorson next season.
“Kinda neat,” NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said of Johnson and Kirtz reconnecting. “When they played together Bryce was a young guy, so it will be fun to watch.”
Fitzgerald called Hooper-Price “really explosive, a guy who can do it all. He has a chance to be an instant impact player. He has top-end speed, great hands and can be used in a lot of ways.”
NU officials began to unveil their 18-man class at 6:13 a.m. with a social media introduction of Malik Washington, a 5-9 speedster from Lilburn, Ga., who also reportedly drew offers Auburn and Tennessee.
All 18 signed by 9:13 a.m. Northwestern had New Trier defensive lineman Duke Olges go last, with Fitzgerald tweeting: “We start AND END our recruiting here in Chicago.”
Fitzgerald hopes the 6-4, 242 pound Olges can develop into a tackle in the mold of Jordan Thompson, Fred Wyatt and Tyler Lancaster.
“Duke is a big kid, really physical,” Fitzgerald said. “He was a two-way player in high school that we will start on the D-line. I like his athleticism and size potential. He’s a really good baseball player too. As we were evaluating, the question was: Can he get big enough? And then all of a sudden we see him in May and it’s: Oh, he’s big enough now.”
The Huskies unveiled a 16-player class that includes 11 in-state prospects: Kenwood defensive back Mark Aitken, Oswego East wide receiver Justin Clark, Raby defensive back Romel Goston, former Glenbard North defensive back Tyrik Henderson (who spent this fall at a prep school in Connecticut), Nazareth athlete Michael Love, Hillcrest defensive end Cam Mattox, Phillips wide receiver Fabian McCray, former Homewood-Flossmoor wide receiver Tyrice Richie (a junior-college transfer), East St. Louis defensive tackle Demond Taylor, Solorio wide receiver Messiah Travis and Buffalo Grove tight end Tom Trieb.
Love is the younger brother of Notre Dame All-America cornerback Julian Love. McCray is a former Illinois commitment.
The five out-of-state signees are Wisconsin offensive lineman Leif Engstrand, Wisconsin defensive tackle Reece Heyerdahl, Indiana defensive end Chamaar Smith, Florida quarterback Mariano Valenti and Wisconsin offensive lineman Logan Zschernitz.
Aitken, Clark, Henderson and Richie are expected to be early enrollees.