Illinois – The recruiting woes continue into the 2023 cycle. The Illini have lost another Chicago area class of 2023 highly rated high school prospect.
Friday afternoon four-star wide receiver Malik Elzy out of Chicago Simeon High School verbally committed to Luke Fickell and the Cincinnati Bearcats. Elzy was rated by 247 composite as the number one receiver in Illinois and 36 overall. While he will be a great addition to the Bearcats. He is a huge loss to Illinois as well.
MalikElzy chose the Bearcats over the Illini and other B1G members Michigan and Michigan St. Granted that the Bearcats have been very active in Chicago land recruiting in the past. One former Bearcat stood out to Elzy’s decision to join the team. Glenbard West and Bearcat alum Alec Pierce.
The recent NFL Draft results, where the Bearcats have had quite a few players drafted, also did not hurt matters when it comes to earning a commitment from Elzy. The success of Alec Pierce, a fellow Illinois native, and bigger wide receiver, was particularly notable for him.
“That played a big part as well,” he said. “They had nine guys drafted, right behind Georgia and Alabama. That’s my ultimate goal to make it to the league. They just had Alec Pierce get drafted and I can help replace him and be the next big thing.”
Illinois needs to improve in-state recruiting
Illinois under Bret Bielema will in time gain success in the recruiting of in-state talent. As close as Illini coach and Elzy’s recruiter (Cory Patterson) were. The emphasis on concentrating on finishing the process will have to become a priority.
The Illinois recruiting staff has had success with in-state recruiting, but there is room to improve. Illinois has 15 verbal commitments from the class of 2023, but only 5 are from in-state schools. In March four-star in-state recruit Kaden Feagin committed to Illinois. Bret Bielema, Barry Lunney Jr., and staff have made it very clear that in-state recruiting is a priority and will improve in time.
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