Coach Ron Zook is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Fighting Illini.
Feb. 4, 2009
University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook is pleased to announce 20 players signed letters of intent to play football with the Fighting Illini. Among the class, Zook introduces 11 skill players and nine linemen from the states of Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Kentucky and California.
Three prospects are ranked among the nation's to 100, backs Terry Hawthorne and Justin Green and JUCO top-100 selection, Aaron Gress. Among those three, Hawthorne is rated as the No. 1 Wide Receiver in the Nation by Parade Magazine. Green is the No. 1 player in the state of Kentucky. Gress, a junior college transfer from the College of the Sequoias is already enrolled at Illinois and will be with the team for spring practices.
In this year's class, eight of Illinois' 20 signees are four-star recruits according to Rivals.com, which represents 40 percent of the group. It is also the most signed under Ron Zook at Illinois. In addition to Hawthorne and Green, Illinois landed a pair of Chicago Public League All-Stars in Leo's Lendell Buckner and Leon Hill and Homewood-Flossmoor defensive lineman Michael Buchanan. Florida lineman Andrew Carter, Kansas City quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and Ohio running back Bud Golden round out thelist.
Hawthorne, Green and Thornton's Greg Fuller are ranked in the top-10 at their respective positions, and five players rank in the top-10 in their respective states (Hawthorne, Green, Scheelhaase, Hill, Buckner).
|Walter Aikens||Back||6-1||185||Charlotte, N.C./Harding|
|Michael Buchanan||Line||6-6||220||Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor|
|Lendell Buckner||Line||6-3||340||Chicago, Ill./Leo|
|Andrew Carter||Line||6-4||272||Tallahassee, Fla./Leon|
|Jake Feldmeyer||Line||6-4||265||Centerville, Ohio/Centerville|
|Greg Fuller||Back||6-1||240||Harvey, Ill./Thornton Township|
|Bud Golden||Back||6-0||190||Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore|
|Justin Green||Back||5-11||178||Louisville, Ky./Male|
|Aaron Gress||Back||6-0||205||Exeter, Calif./Exeter/College of the Sequoias|
|Terry Hawthorne||Back||6-0||170||East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis|
|Leon Hill||Line||6-4||320||Chicago, Ill./Leo|
|Tommie Hopkins||Back||5-11||175||East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis|
|Steve Hull||Back||6-2||187||Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore|
|Tim Kynard||Line||6-3||240||Toledo, Ohio/St. John's|
|Justin Lattimore||Line||6-3||215||Tampa, Fla./Gaither|
|Nathan Scheelhaase||QB||6-3||185||Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst|
|Akeem Spence||Line||6-1||280||Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Ft. Walton Beach|
|Hugh Thornton||Line||6-5||285||Oberlin, Ohio/Oberlin|
|Joelil Thrash||Back||6-0||185||Washington, D.C./H.D. Woodson|
|Eric Watts||Back||6-1||215||Jacksonville, Fla./Wolfson|