Lovie Smith and staff add class of 24 between December and February signing periods


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois head football coach Lovie Smith announced Wednesday the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the February signing period.


The five new Illini join 18 student-athletes that signed NLIs during the new early signing period in December and graduate transfer from WR Shaedon Meadors in the 2018 incoming class.


The 24-man class includes 10 players from the state of Florida, four from California, four from Illinois, four from Texas, one from Missouri and one from South Carolina. The class is balanced, with 11 defensive players (3 DL, 2 LB, 6 DB) and 13 offensive players (3 QB, 2 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR, 4 OL).


The Illini have one scholarship slot remaining in the 2018 class.


Five of the early signees already are enrolled at Illinois during the 2018 spring semester and will participate in spring ball – freshmen Verdis Brown, Jakari Norwood, Reuben Unije, Nick Walker and Meadors.


2018 February Signees (5)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
Jacob Hollins LB 6-2 215 Fresno, Calif./Central East
Ezekiel Holmes DL 6-5 205 Wichita Falls, Tex./Hirschi
Matt Robinson QB 6-1 180 San Juan Capistrano, Calif./J Serra Catholic
Kenyon Sims RB 5-11 195 San Diego, Calif./Lincoln
Coran Taylor QB 6-3 205 Peoria, Ill./Peoria


2018 Early Signees (18)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
Calvin Avery DL 6-2 310 Dallas, Tex./Bishop Dunne
Daniel Barker TE 6-4 230 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Deerfield Beach
Sydney Brown DB 6-0 190 Bradenton, Fla./St. Stephens Episcopal School
Verdis Brown* DL 6-3 295 Chicago, Ill./IMG Academy (Fla.)
Edwin Carter WR 6-3 180 Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood
Ron Hardge III DB 6-1 175 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons
Kerby Joseph DB 6-2 185 Orlando, Fla./Jones
Jartavius Martin DB 6-0 175 Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh Acres
Kievan Myers OL 6-5 330 Dallas, Tex./Dishop Dunne
Jakari Norwood* RB 5-10 175 Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach
Julian Pearl OL 6-7 250 Danville, Ill./Danville
MJ Rivers QB 6-4 215 Frisco, Tex./Lone Star
Carlos Sandy WR 5-9 165 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons
Jordyn Slaughter OL 6-5 295 Belleville, Ill./Althoff Catholic
Khalan Tolson LB 6-0 200 St. Petersburg, Fla./Admiral Farragut Academy
Reuben Unije* OL 6-6 310 Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy
Nick Walker* DB 5-10 175 St. Louis, Mo./Cisco College (Texas)
Delano Ware DB 6-0 190 El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito


2018 Graduate Transfers (1)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Last College
Shaedon Meadors* WR 6-2 180 Duncan, S.C./Appalachian State

* Early enrollee, Jan. 2018