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    Illinois' 2009 Recruiting Class Introduced
    Coach Ron Zook is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Fighting Illini.

    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, 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).

    Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
    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

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