2022 College Football Class Review: Illinois

By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
Updated Jan. 26, 2022.

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This is everything we got college recruiting wise for Illinois but don't take our word for it...be sure to click around the site to drive up our traffic. :).

Conference Class Rank

We do not have a conference ranking for Illinois

2022 College Recruiting - 7 Commits

Last Player Grade Published on Jan. 26, 2022
Illinois logo S Matthew Bailey (Moline, IL) commits to Illinois  View Class

Bailey (6-2, 185) has good size and plays a decent game inside the box. His foot speed is nothing to write home about, and he struggles with change of direction and tracking the ball in the air. Bailey could grow into a linebacker, which might be a better overall fit for his game than the secondary. He is a developmental player who has a skill set that needs a lot of refining. Bailey will try to make a mark on special teams and see if he can work his way into a rotation on defense.

Matthew Bailey's Player Grade: D+
Illinois logo LB Jared Badie (Oswego, IL) commits to Illinois  View Class

Badie (6-4, 215) is the type of prospect who Bret Bielema is looking for at Illinois. Badie has a lot of potential and some very appealing physical tools, but he has a way to go. If Illinois can get Badie on the right program and he shows patience and trusts the process, he has the physical tools to be a very good pass rusher three years from now. Badie is a quick-twitch kid with a great first-step and natural quickness. He'll have to put on some weight and learn how to play with his hand in the ground some of the time. Those are all things that can be taught. Badie has the get-off and the bend that all great pass rushers possess. Now, he just needs to grow and develop his technique.

Jared Badie's Player Grade: C+
Illinois logo RB Jordan Anderson (Joliet, IL) commits to Illinois  View Class

Whether you agree with Bret Bielema's plan or you don't, it's clear what he's trying to do - recruit big athletes. Anderson (6-3, 226) is a big running back who could grow into a fullback, or possibly an h-back, or even slide over to defense. Illinois is going to be an old-style power running team with a lot of 12- and 13-personnel lineups, and Anderson is probably going to be used as a primary big back in some situations and a lead blocker in others. In the dying days of the fullback, Anderson will offer that role to the Illini.

Jordan Anderson's Player Grade: C+
Illinois logo TE Henry Boyer (Oak Lawn, IL) commits to Illinois  View Class

Boyer (6-6, 245) is another Chicago-area commit who the Illini coaching staff has picked up. As a team that will run a ton of multiple-tight end sets, Illinois is picking up a lot of big bodies. If Boyer stays at tight end, he's going to primarily be used as a blocker and maybe a goal-line receiver. He could continue to grow and possibly get a look as an offensive tackle down the road. Boyer is a physical, tough blocker who will get his hands dirty, and he's exactly what Illinois is looking for from the position.

Henry Boyer's Player Grade: C
Illinois logo TE Owen Anderson (Princeton, NJ) commits to Illinois  View Class

The Illini are recruiting a lot of big bodies and multiple tight ends for their offense. Anderson (6-4, 241) is doing a post-graduate year in football after originally committing to FCS Monmouth as a Class of 2021 prospect. The extra year will probably help Anderson be more physically ready than the other tight ends in the class. Anderson is a physical kid who can block, but Illini head coach Bret Bielema is going to want his tight ends to catch a little too, so Anderson should spend his post-grad year working on his hands and some simple route running.

Owen Anderson's Player Grade: C
Illinois logo OL Clayton Leonard (Danforth, IL) commits to Illinois  View Class

Leonard (6-4, 255) is a smallish guard prospect who should help with depth as new coach Bret Bielema tries to rebuild the roster. Illinois and Central Michigan were the first offers Leonard received.

Looking at the film, Leonard is a solid competitor. The level of competition he plays doesn't appear too challenging, but he imposes his will on his opponents, and that's what you want to see. Leonard loves playing football, and it shows through the film. He might not be rated highly, but Illinois wants to establish a floor and build a culture of competition. Leonard could help with that, and anything extra will be a bonus.

Clayton Leonard's Player Grade: C-
Illinois logo QB Donovan Leary (Sicklerville, NJ) commits to Illinois  View Class

Illinois recruitment of Leary (6-2, 190) should provide a good idea of what type of offense Bret Bielema will be implementing with the program. Leary is a traditional, pro-style passer who currently works out of the shotgun in high school, but he will certainly be under center in college and trying to manage a power run game with play-action passing.

Leary's arm strength and release points are about where they need to be. He can throw downfield with some strength. Leary isn't going to win any track races, but he can move functionally when he needs to. Accuracy, decision-making and learning how to read through his progressions are areas Leary must improve. He is guilty of making a lot of throws that he shouldn't make. Leary has some tools, but he will need time to develop.

Donovan Leary's Player Grade: C

All Commitments - 7

Most recent Commitment on Jan. 26, 2022
  • 1/26 - Matthew Bailey S
  • 7/5 - Jared Badie LB
  • 4/29 - Jordan Anderson RB
  • 4/29 - Henry Boyer TE
  • 4/28 - Owen Anderson TE
  • 4/18 - Clayton Leonard OL
  • 3/29 - Donovan Leary QB

Last Season's Roster:

  • Seniors: 0
  • Juniors: 0
  • Sophmores: 0
  • Freshmen: 0


2022 NBA Mock Draft - June 23

Fantasy Football Rankings - June 15

2023 NFL Mock Draft - June 14

NFL Power Rankings - June 5

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