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Minnesota Illinois Football

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith enjoyed his defensive play calling duties on Saturday and will assume the same role this week.

CHAMPAIGN β€” The National Letters of Intent have been trickling in for the Illinois football team today, the first of a three-day early signing period that ends Friday. The next available time to sign is Feb. 6 on National Signing Day.Β 

Follow with updates during the day as new signees commit to the Fighting Illini.Β 

Illinois hasΒ 11 signed letters of intent from high school athletes, headlined by a pair of four-star athletes in Trinity Catholic (St. Louis) quarterback Isaiah Williams and cornerback Marquez Beason from Duncanville, Texas, who is the first top-100 signee for the Illini since Terry Hawthorne in 2009.

Beason gave a verbal commitment in March and has been active in recruiting other athletes on social media.

β€œIt feels good to finally be officially signed," Beason told the Herald-Review. "Everybody had doubts, but I always knew that’s where I was going. It feels good to hush the critics."

According to, Illinois has the 66th best class nationally with 10 signees, and ranks 13th in the Big Ten.

Other signings so far include a handful of three-star recruits:

Moses Okpala, Ladue, Mo. β€” 6-foot-7, 350-pound defensive lineman

Joseph Thompson, Chicago Phillips β€” 5-10, 160-pound defensive back

Nick Fedanzo, Lombard Montini β€” 6-0, 200-pound running back

Evan Kirts, Chicago Brother Rice β€” 6-5, 250-pound offensive lineman

Seth Coleman, Melbourne, Fla. (Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy) β€” 6-5, 200-pound defensive lineman

Casey Washington, Pflugerville, Texas β€” 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver

Griffin Moore, Bloomington, Ill. β€” 6-4, 225-pound tight end

Keith Randolph, Belleville West β€” 6-5, 270-pound defensive lineman

Kyron Cumby, Plano, Texas β€” 5-8, 175-pound running back

This story will be updated.

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Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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