Football
Zook Announces Recruiting Class for 2006

 
 

Feb. 1, 2006

Coach Ron Zook formally introduced 26 new Illinois football recruits to the news media this afternoon:

Fighting Illini Football
2006 Recruiting Class

PLAYER POS.HT. WT. HOME TOWN PREVIOUS SCHOOL
Click on player's name for BIO and VIDEO link

Jon Asamoah Line6-5 265 Park Forest, Ill. Rich East
Travon Bellamy Back6-0 178 Greenbelt, Md. Eleanor Roosevelt
Jerry Brown Line6-4 262 St. Louis, Mo. Vashon
Jeff Cumberland Back6-4 230 Columbus, Ohio Brookhaven
Vontae Davis Back6-0 184 Washington, D.C. Dunbar
Chris Duvalt Back5-10 159 Lakeland, Fla. Lake Gibson
Garrett Edwards Back6-2 192 Downers Grove, Ill. North
Antonio Gully Back6-0 175 St. Louis, Mo. Cardinal Ritter
Dere Hicks Back5-10 175 Roanoke, Va. William Fleming/Valley Forge
Michael Hoomanawanui Back6-5 230 Bloomington, Ill. Central Catholic
Randall Hunt Line6-6 286 Hightstown, N.J. Hightstown/Valley Forge
Anterio Jackson Back6-2 240 Chicago, Ill. Fenger
Antonio James Line6-5 252 Massillon, Ohio Washington
Chris James Back6-0 177 Chicago, Ill. Morgan Park
Dustin Jefferson Back6-0 203 Kankakee, Ill. Kankakee
Brandon Jordan Line6-5 290 Merrillville, Ind. Merrillville
Eddie McGee QB6-4 189 Washington, D.C. H.D. Woodson
Akim Millington Line6-7 320 Norman, Okla. Oklahoma/Wheaton North
Joe Morgan Back6-2 175 Canton, Ohio McKinley
Clay Nurse Line6-3 235 Beltsvile, Md. High Point
Ryan Palmer Line6-7 298 Canton, Ohio Glen Oak
Rahkeem Smith Back6-1 220 Lombard, Ill. Willowbrook/Hargrave Prep.
Marques Wilkins Back6-0 182 Decatur, Ill. MacArthur
Isiah Williams QB6-2 207 Chicago, Ill. Vocational
Craig Wilson Line6-5 290 Harvey, Ill. Thornton
Kyle Yelton Back6-1 180 Chesterton, Ind. Chesterton

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WATCH VIDEO (#77)

Jon Asamoah
LINE
6-5, 265
Park Forest, Ill.
Rich East HS


Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Chicago Tribune special mention All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times All-Area ... The Star All-Area ... Offense gained over 3,100 rushing yards ... Plays basketball for high school ... High school coach is Alan Greenberg ... Chose Illinois over Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Ball State.

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WATCH VIDEO (#5)

Travon Bellamy
BACK
6-0, 178
Greenbelt, Md.
Eleanor Roosevelt HS


Star/Gazette All-State ... The Washington Post second-team All-Metro ... Prep Star All-Atlantic Region ... Earned first-team All-Conference honors by The Washington Post ... Pigskin Club All-Metro team ... MDvarsity.com consensus first-team Big School All-State ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Ranked the 20th best player in Maryland and rated the No. 54 defensive back in the country by Rivals.com ... Posted 63 tackles, three fumble recoveries, 11 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns as a senior ... Also rushed for 187 yards on 16 carries, caught 18 passes for 394 yards ... Also returned kickoffs and punts, recording 423 yards on kicks and 437 on punt returns ... Three-year starting defensive back ... Set a school record with a 101-yard interception touchdown return in 2005, one of two touchdown returns on the season ... Recorded three interceptions in the same game he set the school record return ... Had 33 career interceptions ... Made 72 tackles and eight interceptions as a junior, despite missing five games with a knee injury ... Returned one kickoff for a TD in 2004 ... Led Prince George County with 14 interceptions as a sophomore ... Reports a 4.40 second 40-yard dash ... High school coach is Rick Houchens ... Chose Illinois over Oregon State, Kansas State, North Carolina and Virginia.

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WATCH VIDEO (#82)

Jerry Brown
LINE
6-4, 262
St. Louis, Mo.
Vashon HS


Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Class 5 first-team All-State ... Prep Star All-American ... St. Louis Post-Dispatch first-team All-Metro ... First-team All-Public High League Conference ... Two-time Public High League defensive MVP ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... The 11th-ranked recruit from Missouri and 53rd-ranked defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals.com ... Made 97 tackles, 13 sacks and one interception in 2005 ... Caught three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown at tight end ... Recorded 362 career tackles, 37 career sacks and one interception while lettering four times ... High school coach is Reginald Ferguson ... Also won three letters in track ... Chose Illinois over Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska ... Personal: Full given name Jerry Jerome Brown, Jr. ... Born Oct. 20, 1987 ... Son of Dwjaun and Stacey Jackson ... Has one brother ... Favorite athlete is Jevon Kearse ... Started playing football at age six.

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WATCH VIDEO (#15)

Jeff Cumberland
BACK
6-4, 230
Columbus, Ohio
Brookhaven HS


Ohio News Network/Ohio High Magazine All-Ohio team ... Prep Star All-American ... Listed as the No. 66 recruit in the nation by ESPN.com ... Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Ranked the 11th-best prospect from Ohio and 19th-rated athlete in the country by Rivals.com ... Ranked in the Rivals 250 by Rivals.com ... Made 25 catches for 801 yards, recording 32 yards per catch ... Scored 13 touchdowns during the regular season in 2005 ... Selected for the Ohio North/South Classic game ... Recorded the best 40-yard dash and vertical leap among tight ends at the Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp ... High school coach is Tom Blake ... Chose Illinois over Ohio State, Minnesota, West Virginia and Marshall.

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WATCH VIDEO (#4)

Vontae Davis
BACK
6-0, 184
Washington, D.C.
Dunbar HS


Washington Post first-team All-Metro ... Prep Star All-American ... D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year ... DCIAA West first-team All-Conference ...Named the No. 1 recruit in the DC area by Rivals.com ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Recorded eight interceptions and 38 solo tackles as a senior ... Also had 25 receptions for 612 yards ... Recorded over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2005 ... Led Dunbar HS to a 9-2 record and defeated Coolidge in the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA city championship game ... Third-fastest DB at the State College NIKE camp ... Recorded 4.40 second 40-yard dash and 33-inch vertical jump ... High school coach is Craig Jefferies ... Chose Illinois over Maryland, Michigan State and Virginia.

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WATCH VIDEO (#15)

Chris Duvalt
BACK
5-10, 159
Lakeland, Fla.
Lake Gibson HS


Florida Sports Writers Association Class 5A first-team All-State ... Prep Star All-American ... Florida Athletic Coaches Association Player of the Year ... Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com ... Ranked the 25th-best cornerback in the nation and 49th-best player in the state of Florida by Rivals.com ... Recorded 50 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass break-ups in 2005 ... Also made 17 catches for 385 yards and scored three touchdowns ... Recorded a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at the Tallahassee NIKE Training Camp ... Selected for the Florida North-South All-Star Game ... Registered 52 tackles, seven interceptions and 11 pass break-ups as a junior ... High school coach is Keith DeMyer ... Also plays point guard for high school basketball team ... Chose Illinois over West Virginia and South Carolina.

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WATCH VIDEO (#7)

Garrett Edwards
BACK
6-2, 192
Downers Grove, Ill.
North HS


2005 Chicago Tribune first-team All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times All-Area ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... West Suburban Silver Conference Player of the Year ... 2004 Chicago Tribune second-team All-State ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Ranked the 13th-best recruit in Illinois by Rivals.com ... Three-year varsity starter ... Played running back, wide receiver, free safety and quarterback in high school ... Part of 2004 8A State Championship team ... Tallied 3,208 career rushing yards and 1,700 career passing yards ... Returned three punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns in career ... Six career interceptions ... In 2004, rushed for 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns ... Passed for 900 yards and 11 touchdowns ... Also All-Conference basketball selection ... High school coach is John Wander ... Chose Illinois over Purdue and Iowa State ... Personal: Born Dec. 18, 1987 ... Son of Kim and Tom Edwards ... Has two brothers and one sister ... Two uncles played college football, Ron Leoni (Illinois) and Dave Edwards (Indiana) ... Biggest sports thrill was winning the state championship ... Favorite athlete is Shaun Alexander ... Born in Orange County, Calif.

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WATCH VIDEO (#24)

Antonio Gully
BACK
6-0, 175
St. Louis, Mo.
Cardinal Ritter HS


Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Class 2 first-team All-State defensive back ... Prep Star All-Southwest Region ... St. Louis Post-Dispatch first-team All-Metro ... All-AAA Conference ... St. Louis American All-American ... Ranked as the No. 14 player in the state of Missouri by Rivals.com ... Totaled nine interceptions in each 2004 and 2005 ... Made 60 tackles in 2005 ... Also played wide receiver making 26 receptions for 561 yards his senior season ... Scored three touchdowns ... Helped record first playoff win in school history in 2005 ... Recorded a 37-inch vertical jump ... Ran cross country and track in high school ... High school coach is Ron Villars ... Chose Illinois over Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin ... Personal: Full given name Antonio Jeremiah Gully ... Born Sept. 27, 1986 ... Son of Donna Simms and Lawerance Gully ... Has three brothers and two sisters ... Earned Honor Roll recognition.

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WATCH VIDEO (#5)

Dere Hicks
BACK
5-10, 175
Roanoke, Va.
William Fleming HS/Valley Forge


Attended Valley Forge Military Academy in 2005 ... Led team to an undefeated season ... Recorded 45 tackles and five interceptions ... Returned three interceptions for touchdowns ... Broke up six passes ... Posted a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash ... Also played quarterback and returned kicks ... Completed over 65 percent of passes for six touchdowns ... Ran for six more touchdowns ... High School: All-State ... Threw for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns ... Rushed for over 850 yards and eight touchdowns ... Also won the state championship in hurdles ... Earned letters in football, track and basketball ... High school coach was Keith Smith ... Chose Illinois over Michigan State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse and Connecticut ... Personal: Full given name Brandt Vincent Dere Hicks ... Born March 16, 1987 ... Son of Sharon Hicks and Robert Vineyard ... Has one brother and one sister ... Plans to pursue a career in broadcasting after school.

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WATCH VIDEO (#86)

Michael Hoomanawanui
BACK
6-5, 230
Bloomington, Ill.
Central Catholic HS


Chicago Tribune first-team All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times first-team All-State ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Bloomington Pantagraph All-State... First Team All-Cornbelt Conference ... WJBC-AM Ron Smith Player of the Year ... Three-star recruit, ranked as the No. 40 tight end in the country by Rivals.com ... Made 50 receptions for 843 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior ... Also led team with 139 tackles and eight sacks on defense ... Lettered in basketball during freshman, sophomore and junior years ... High school coach was Bobby Moews ... Chose Illinois over Purdue, Northern Illinois and Oregon State ... Personal: Full given name is Michael Patrick Hoomanawanui ... Born July 4, 1988 ... Son of Anne and Isy Hoomanawanui ... Has one sister ... Father played football for Illinois State University.

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WATCH VIDEO (#66)

Randall Hunt
LINE
6-6, 286
Hightstown, N.J.
Hightstown HS/Valley Forge


Named the 27th-best prep school player by Scout.com ... Ranked among the Prep School Top-50 by Rivals.com ... Attended Valley Forge Military Academy ... Played offensive tackle and defensive tackle ... Helped lead team to undefeated season ... High School: Associated Press second team All-State ... Star Ledger third team All-State ... Trentonian All-Area ... Trenton Times All-Area ... First-team All-Colonial Valley Conference ... Named to 12th Man Touchdown Club ... Ranked No. 1 overall and defensively in the Colonial Valley Conference ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Also earned three letters in winter and spring track ... Participated in the Sunshine Classic All-Star Game ... Chose Illinois over Northwestern and Rutgers ... Personal: Full given name Randall Thomas Hunt ... Born Oct. 6, 1987 ... Son of Sharon and Edward Hunt ... Favorite athlete is Reggie White because of his on- and off-the-field attitude.

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WATCH VIDEO (#50)

Anterio Jackson
BACK
6-2, 240
Chicago, Ill.
Fenger HS


Chicago Tribune special mention All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette special mention All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 All-Area ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... All-City ... Chicago Public League All-Illini Land of Lincoln Conference ... Two time Male Athlete of the Year at Fenger High School ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Ranked as the 44th-best inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com ... Made 174 tackles and six sacks as a senior ... Recorded three interceptions and forced five fumbles in 2005 ... Three-year varsity starter ... Played center on offense and long snapper on special teams ... Competes in the shot put, discus, 200m and 400m for high school track and field team ... Also earned two letters on the bowling team ... High school coaches are Michael Holmes and William Douglas ... Chose Illinois over Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern ... Personal: Full given name Anterio Jarius Jackson ... Born Jan. 15, 1988 ... Has been raised since seventh grade by Emma Allen ... Has one brother and three sisters ... Earned academic Honor Roll distinction ... High school coach, Michael Holmes, played running back at Illinois (1979-80) ... William Douglas, assistant coach, played in the NFL.

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WATCH VIDEO (#95)

Antonio James
LINE
6-5, 252
Massillon, Ohio
Washington


Associated Press first-team Division I All-Ohio ... First-team All-District ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... First-team All-County ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Ranked as the 54th-best strongside defensive end in the country by Rivals.com ... Helped lead Washington to a 13-2 final record, making the Ohio state championship game ... Finished the season with 45 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and 10 passes batted down ... Also had 23 quarterback hurries and 10 forced fumbles as a senior ... Selected for the Ohio/Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star Game ... Selected for the Ohio North/South Classic game ... High school coach is Tom Stacy ... Also earned three letters in track and one in basketball ... ... Chose Illinois over Michigan State, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Louisville ... Personal: Full given name Antonio Dioun James ... Born March 17, 1988 ... Son of Julie Pettis and Antonio James ... Has four brothers and one sister ... Favorite athlete is Richard Dent, former Chicago Bears defensive lineman ... Honor Roll student.

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WATCH VIDEO (#4)

Chris James
BACK
6-0, 177
Chicago, Ill.
Morgan Park HS


Chicago Tribune second-team All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 All-Area ... Rated the No. 127 recruit in the nation by ESPN.com ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... All-City ... Chicago Public League All-Illini Prairie State Conference ... A four-star recruit by Rivals.com ... Ranked the 26th-best receiver in the country and fourth-best recruit in the state of Illinois ... Had 51 receptions for 977 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior ... Led high school to 2005 Prep Bowl win while filling in at quarterback for the injured regular starter ... Rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown while throwing for 50 yards and one touchdown in the championship game ... In 2004, made 30 receptions for 550 yards and seven touchdowns ... High school coach is Lexie Spurlock ... Personal: Born Jan. 7, 1988 ... Son of the Kyle Greer and the late Charles James ... Resides with his grandmother, Gwendolyn Parker ... Nickname is "CJ" ... Has three brothers and three sisters ... Began playing football in eighth grade ... Chose Illinois over Michigan State, Minnesota, Kansas and Northern Illinois.

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Dustin Jefferson
BACK
6-0, 203
Kankakee, Ill.
Kankakee HS


Illinois High School Coaches Association first-team All-State ... Chicago Tribune special mention All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette special-mention All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 All-Area ... First-team All-SICA Green Conference ... Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Ranked as the No. 16 player in the state of Illinois and 64th-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com ... Four-year varsity starter ... Played in nine games posting 101 tackles, 55 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his senior year ... Recorded 113 tackles and five sacks as a junior ... Recorded the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash time at the Ann Arbor NIKE Training Camp among LBs ... Selected to play in the Illinois Shriners All-State game ... Also runs track ... Was a state qualifier in the 4x200 and discus in junior year ... Coached by his dad, Ira Jefferson, in high school ... Chose Illinois over Iowa, Northern Illinois and Ball State ... Personal: Full given name Dustin Thomas Jefferson ... Born Jan. 18, 1988 ... Son of Karla and Ira Jefferson ... Father played football at Eastern Illinois and is the head coach at Kankakee High School ... Wants to be a high school history teacher after college.

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WATCH VIDEO (#76)

Brandon Jordan
LINE
6-5, 290
Merrillville, Ind.
Merrillville HS


Associated Press Class 5A first team All-State ... Herald Tribune Top 33 All-State ... Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 All-State ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Northwest Indiana Times first team All-Area ... Post-Tribune first-team All-Area ... First-team All-Duneland Athletic Conference ... Rated the No. 14 player in the state of Indiana ... Recorded 24 pancake blocks and 31 skates in 2005 ... Graded out at 91 percent in senior season ... 2005 Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and Co-Captain for his team ... Played in three games on defense as a senior ... Recorded eight solo tackles, three assists and six quarterback pressures ... Chose Illinois over Nebraska, Northern Illinois and Ball State ... High school coach is Jeff Yelton, the father of new Illinois teammate, Kyle ... Personal: Cousin, Michael Neal, signed with Purdue in 2005.

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WATCH VIDEO (#5)

Eddie McGee
QB
6-4, 189
Washington, D.C.
H.D. Woodson HS


Honorable-mention All-Metro by The Washington Post ... Prep Star All-Atlantic Region ... First-team DCIAA East All-League ... Finished the season with 2,760 yards passing and 24 touchdowns ... Also ran for over 500 yards and five touchdowns ... Had two 300-plus yard passing performances and completed a career-best five touchdown passes in a single game ... Rated as the second-best player from the District of Columbia ... From the same high school as current Jacksonville Jaguar, Byron Leftwich ... Chose Illinois over Rutgers and Temple.

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WATCH VIDEO (#27)

Akim Millington
LINE
6-7, 320
Norman, Okla.
Oklahoma/Wheaton North


Oklahoma (2003-04): Won the starting job as right tackle before leaving the team for personal reasons in 2005 ... Backup offensive tackle who saw action in four games of 13 in 2004 ... Redshirted the 2003 season ... High School: Rated among the top 30 offensive lineman in the nation by three recruiting services ... First team all-state by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and the Illinois Coaches Association ... Most Outstanding Lineman in the state by the Illinois Football Coaches Association ... Played in the Army All-American Bowl ... Lettered and started his final two seasons ... Played offensive tackle and defensive end as a senior ... Did not give up a sack in either of his final two seasons ... Graded at 90 percent for the season and recorded 86 pancakes ... Broke his wrist in the second quarter of a game early in his junior season and missed seven contests ... High school coach was Matt Foster ... Threw the discus on the track and field team ... Personal: Born Jan. 29, 1985 ... Son of Valarie Peltio ... Plans to major in criminal justice ... Born in Trinidad ... Enjoys hunting, fishing and cooking.



WATCH VIDEO (#27)

Joe Morgan
BACK
6-2, 175
Canton, Ohio
McKinley HS


Associated Press first-team All-Ohio ... Ohio News Network/Ohio High Magazine All-Ohio team ... Super Prep All-Midwest Region ... Caught 39 passes for 1,018 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior ... Averaged 26.1 yards per catch ... Set school records for receiving yardage and touchdowns in a season ... Scored nine touchdowns of 45 yards or longer ... Helped lead his McKinley team to a 12-1 record in 2005 ... Recorded a 4.4 40-yard dash time ... Played in the Ohio/Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star Game ... Selected for the Ohio North/South Classic game ... Hails from the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame ... Also runs track, finishing third in the state in the long jump as a junior ... Chose Illinois over West Virginia, Michigan State, Akron, Bowling Green and Toledo.

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WATCH VIDEO (#88)

Clay Nurse
LINE
6-3, 235
Beltsville, Md.
High Point HS


Honorable-mention All-Metro ... All-Prince George County ... All-Prince George 4A League ... Selected for the Rivals.com Dream Team Defense Second Team ... Played outside linebacker for high school and led team in tackles and sacks ... High school coach is Greg Hill ... Also won letters in basketball and track ... Chose Illinois over Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Connecticut, Akron and Kent State ... Personal: Full given name Clay Kriston Eversley Nurse ... Born Aug. 1, 1988 ... Son of Marcia Leitch and Charles Nurse ... Has one brother and one sister ... Played only two years of high school football after immigrating from Georgetown, Guyana at the age of 15 ... Played cricket, soccer and basketball while attending Queen's College High School in Guyana ... Plans to be a physical therapist after a professional career in football.

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WATCH VIDEO (#77)

Ryan Palmer
LINE
6-7, 298
Canton, Ohio
Glen Oak HS


Graded out at over 90 percent and was named first-team All-State by the Associated Press ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Earned first-team Division I All-Ohio ... First-team All-Stark County ... First-team All-Region ... First-team Federal League All-Conference ... Ranked among the Top-50 in the state of Ohio by Rivals.com ... Played in 10 games in 2005 and racked up 85 pancake blocks ... Played in the Ohio/Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star Game ... High school coach is Jack Rose ... Also lettered in basketball ... Chose Illinois over Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky ... Personal: Full given name Ryan Nicholas Palmer ... Born Oct. 22, 1987 ... Son of Lisa and Kim Palmer ... Has one brother ... Earned Honor Roll recognition 2002-2006 ... Plans to major in business.

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WATCH VIDEO (#9)

Rahkeem Smith
BACK
6-1, 220
Lombard, Ill.
Willowbrook HS/Hargrave Prep.


Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Named the ninth-best prep school player by Scout.com ... Named the 10th-best prep school player by Rivals.com ... Recorded 52 tackles and two interceptions at Hargrave Prep ... High School: A Scout.com top-25 Illinois recruit ... Ranked the 19th-best prospect in the state of Illinois and the 52nd-best outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com ... A three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Recorded 82 tackles and seven sacks as a senior with three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and seven tackles for loss ... Led the team in rushing with 783 yards on 146 carries as a running back, scoring nine touchdowns... Twice earned West Suburban Gold All-Conference honors ... Was an All-Area selection by the Arlington Heights Daily Herald in 2004 ... After lacerated kidney injury as a sophomore, came back with 67 tackles, 11 for loss, and 12 sacks in 2003 ... SuperPrep All-Region ... Three-year varsity member ... High school coach was Mark Olson ... Personal: Full given name is Rahkeem Jamaal Smith ... Born Oct. 10, 1987 ... The son of Tamilla and James Smith ... Is one of eight children ... Brother, Tramell, is a middle-distance runner on the Illinois track team.

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WATCH VIDEO (#11)

Marques Wilkins
BACK
6-0, 182
Decatur, Ill.
MacArthur HS


Chicago Tribune special mention All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Unanimous Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year selection ... A four-star recruit according to Rivals.com ... Prep Star All-American ... Sixth-rated player from the state of Illinois and 29th-best receiver in the country ... Caught 23 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns as a senior ... Rushed for 780 yards on 100 carries and 12 touchdowns ... Also returned punts and kickoffs, averaging 29.1 yards per kick return and scoring on a punt return ... Recorded 1,741 all-purpose yards in 2005 ... Three-year varsity starter ... Nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-Star game ... Played in just five games in 2004 due to injury ... Totaled 600 yards receiving and 600 yards rushing in junior season ... 17 total touchdowns in 2004 ... Recorded the most bench press reps at the 2005 Ann Arbor NIKE Training Camp ... Personal: Full given name is Marques Anthony Wilkins ... The son of Tony and Melverta Wilkins ... Born Oct. 27, 1987 ... Plans on majoring in business administration ... Name is pronounced "Marcus" ... National Merit Scholar qualified ... Was placed on the MacArthur High School Wall of Fame for both academic and athletic excellence ... Honor roll student ... Chose Illinois over Michigan State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Purdue, Missouri, Kansas State and Ball State.

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WATCH VIDEO (#7)

Isiah Williams
QB
6-2, 207
Chicago, Ill.
Vocational HS


Prep Star Dream Team ... Prep Star All-American ... Midwest Quarterback of the Year ... Prep Star Top-100 recruit ... Rivals.com Top-100 recruit ... Chicago Tribune special mention All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 All-Area ... Three-time All-Chicago Public League ... Three-time All-City ... Four-time All-Illini Red Bird Conference ... Ranked No. 5 among senior quarterbacks in the nation by SI.com ... Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Second-rated prospect from the state of Illinois and No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the nation according to Rivals.com ... Ranked No. 7 in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press ... Threw for 1,841 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior ... Also rushed for 1,441 yards and 17 touchdowns ... Averaged 21.8 yards per carry... Made one 65-yard touchdown reception ... Won Best Feet and Most Likely to Play First Awards at the 2005 EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback camp ... Runner-up in Strongest Arm and Most Improved Camper at Elite 11 ... Selected for the Chicago Public League All-Star game ... Served as a reserve for the Army All-American Bowl ... High school coach is Charles Chambers ... Chose Illinois over North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee and Ohio State ... Personal: Goes by "Juice" ... Born Nov. 19, 1987 ... Son of Anita and Stanley Williams ... Has two brothers and four sisters ... Attends same high school as former Illini and NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, who is also his Illini hero ... Honor roll student ... High school Student of the Month ... Neighborhood Citizen of the Month ... Nearly died at birth due to the excessive weight of 13 pounds and eight ounces.

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WATCH VIDEO (#78)

Craig Wilson
LINE
6-5, 290
Harvey, Ill.
Thornton HS


Chicago Tribune second-team All-State ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State ... Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 All-Area ... Daily Southtown All-Area ... Illinois Times All-Area ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Two time All-Conference SICA Gray ... Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com ... Ranked the 17th-best recruit in Illinois ... Three-year varsity starter ... Won four letters in football and track ... Also lettered twice in wrestling ... High school coach is Bill Mosel ... Chose Illinois over Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin ... Personal: Full given name Craig Andrew Wilson ... Born Aug. 21, 1987 ... Son of Lisa and Steve Wilson ... Wants to become a teacher after finishing school.

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WATCH VIDEO (#12)

Kyle Yelton
BACK
6-1, 180
Chesterton, Ind.
Chesterton HS


Associated Press All-State ... Indianapolis Star Mr. Football Punter Award ... Prep Star All-Midwest Region ... Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State ... Northwest Indiana Times first-team All-Area ... Two-time All-Duneland Athletic Conference ... Two-time All-Area Punter ... Ranked the third-best punter in the nation by Scout.com ... Rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com ... Kicked a season-long 67-yard punt against his father's team ... Recorded 28 touchbacks ... Averaged 42 yards per punt as a senior and was 3-of-5 on field goals ... Made 8-of-12 career field goals ... Also played defensive back, recording three interceptions and 43 tackles ... Chose Illinois over Western Michigan ... Personal: Full given name Kyle Anthony Samuel Yelton ... Born March 31, 1988 ... Son of Rhonda and Jeff Yelton ... Has one sister ... Father played football at Ball State and is the head coach at Merrillville (Ind.) High School ... Favorite athlete is Eugene Wilson of the New England Patriots who played at Illinois and for his father, Jeff Yelton, at Merrillville High School ... Father also coached fellow signing classmate, Brandon Jordan.

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