Covering the Land of Lincoln

Newest Illini commit lands in top 800 for class of 2023

The recruiting rankings are finally updated, and it looks like the Illinois football team landed a highly-regarded talent on the 4th of July.

Recruiting is really starting to heat up for the Illini. Over the last couple of weeks, we were able to land four players for the class of 2023. The most recent commitment to the Orange and Blue was Kenari Wilcher on Monday.

The Writing Illini wrote about Wilcher and the talent he brings to the program. In fact, I believe I mentioned in the previous article that I think Wilcher will have an impact on the Illinois football team in the first couple of seasons he is in Champaign.

Well, it looks like 247Sports might agree with me on that sentiment. Wilcher pledged to the Illini but he wasn’t rated or ranked by 247Sports. Since his commitment, they have updated the recruiting rankings. Wilcher is now rated as a three-star recruit, but that isn’t the best part. He is also ranked as the No. 730 players in the class of 2023.


Landing in the top 1000 is a big deal. While players who are sub-1000 can still make an impact on the team, traditionally it is the top 1000 recruits who move the needle.

Illinois football is putting together a pretty good recruiting class for 2023.

The Wilcher commitment was a big deal. You can tell this kid has talent, and now the recruiting rankings show that he is most likely going to be an impact player for Illinois.

With Wilcher now ranked as the No. 730 player, this boosts Illinois’ class rankings as well. Before the update, the Illini had the No. 42 class for 2023. Now we have the No. 39 class in the nation. This update goes a long way in achieving the goal of having back-to-back top 50 classes.

I also think it is important to note that Wilcher is coming in as a safety. That was a recent update as well. 247Sports had him as an athlete, but they changed his position to safety.

Landing a top 1000 recruit who plays defensive back is something that doesn’t happen too often for the Illini. Bielema has now brought into a top 1000 player who will play defensive back in back-to-back recruiting classes. The other is Elijah McCantos from the class of 2022 who was ranked No. 691.

I will take this one step further. Before Bielema took over the Illini, the last time Illinois had back-to-back recruiting classes with a top 1000 recruit who played defensive back was in 2012 and 2013.

Let’s just say, defensive back recruiting hasn’t been a specialty for the Illinois football program. That seems to be changing, though. Bielema has the Illini recruiting well, and in the coming years we may have one of the best secondaries this program has seen in a long time. Snagging Wilcher was big for the Orange and Blue.

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