Looks Like University Of Illinois - Jadon Thompson
When I was younger, someone told me that three hours of sleep was a "full cycle" (deep REM and then back out or something), and so when I know I'm not going to get much sleep, I try to restrict it to exactly three hours. I was planning to write this post last night but I was working until well after midnight and had to get up at 4:15 to get on this flight. So I timed it out to fall asleep at exactly 1:15 so that my alarm would go off exactly three hours later and give me this full cycle of rejuvenating sleep.
I'm so tired.
But, this is an 80-minute flight, and I'm upright and alert now, so even though my brain is a bit loopy, let's get into our third LLOUI post in 36 hours. To be followed by another one for a basketball player (once I figure out who he is and how long we've been recruiting him - anything about him at all, really).
OK, so this run of recruits is rather insane. I just don't understand it. After the season I wrote how the blowout losses were the worst possible results for a third season. Maybe with a 5-7 season and some close losses we could sell progress, but a 46-7 loss to Purdue and a 63-33 loss to Maryland and especially a 63-0 loss to Iowa at home on Senior Day meant that recruiting was dead until we win. I figured the offseason storyline would be "Lovie is fully on the hot seat now, and not many kids will sign up for a coach on the hot seat".
I was apparently dead wrong. Not only did we land Shammond Cooper in January (I mean, he even said he was going to evaluate our season and make sure we didn't get "60-balled" - we got 60-balled three times and he still verballed), we have now landed three of my "top-654" recruits in two days. Two of them being consensus four-stars. Perhaps most importantly, one is an offensive lineman (where the underclassman depth is thin), one is a running back (where the underclassman depth is thin), and one is a wide receiver (where the underclassman depth is thin). I'm not sure I could have designed a better 1-2-3 punch to start the recruiting class.
Especially Jadon Thompson. As you might have heard, we need wide receiver help like Northwestern fans need to realize they built an athlete's village, not a football facility, and when Thompson sets foot on campus he'll immediately be the most talented wide receiver on the roster. Basically, he's that tall Chicago receiver who has always gone to Michigan. And he had an offer from Michigan. And he picked Illinois. I have no idea how.
I can't help but think that he'll immediately start in 2020 when he arrives on campus. That will be Lovie's most talented and experienced team - the roster will only have maybe six Cubit players remaining and then all Lovie recruits - but it still lacks wide receiver depth. So any 4-star receiver in this class is going to get a chance to play immediately. WR is one of those positions where you can play early (corner, wideout, and running back are those spots, at least in my head), so four-star WR + our lack of depth + the ability for wide receivers to play earlier than their classmates = Jadon Thompson being an important part of the 2020 roster.
(Even writing this here I'm still in disbelief. How is this kid not going to Notre Dame? I'm not complaining but... HOW?)
Thompson is definitely the outside receiver type. So now I think the coaches will look to find an inside receiver to pair with him (hi, Mookie). That's the ideal outcome for WR recruiting in 2020. Add two instant impact guys - one on the outside, one on the inside - and then maybe add a few more receivers you can develop over time.
One other thing before we get to Tom Cruises. I think we really need to point out the job Mike Bellamy is doing in his return to Illinois. He's now the point guy in Chicago, and over one weekend he lands a high three-star offensive lineman and a four-star wide receiver - one at Simeon, one at Marist. One more Chicago recruit and he's pulled his weight for the entire class already. Really impressive.
Tom Cruises. Long, tall, fast wideout unlike anyone we have on the current roster turns down Michigan and other blue bloods to stay in state and play ball in Champaign. I think I like Reggie Love a tiny bit better on film (what a great problem to have), and Reggie got 4.25 Cruises, so that settles me here:
Jadon Thompson. Four Tom Cruises.