Illinois Football: Howard Watkins Picks Lovie Smith and the Illini

The Illinois football team has a nice eclectic mix of players committed for the class of 2017.

Over the past few weeks, Lovie Smith and the Illini coaching staff have added some nice junior college transfers to the team that will give the program an instant shot in the arm.

Lovie is also continuing to add players around these JUCO’s as well.  These incoming freshmen will be the foundation in which future success is built.

It was announced today that Illinois is adding another building block.  Howard Watkins has decided to pledge the next four years to the Illini.

Watkins is a 3-star offensive lineman who is ranked as the No. 1082 player in the class of 2017 and the No. 44 player in the state of Ohio.

The offers are there for Watkins.  He has 12 offers on the table right now from some pretty big programs like Louisville, Iowa State, and Cincinnati.

Illinois ended up snagging this big-time recruit, though.  They now have 14 commitments for the year and that number will continue to grow.

Watkins also joins two other offensive linemen, Vederian Lowe and Larry Boyd, which will form one of the best offensive lines we have seen in Champaign in quite some time.

There will be plenty of playing time available for these incoming offensive linemen as well.

Austin Schmidt, Joe Spencer, and Connor Brennan are all departing from last season.  These three leave a big hole in the offensive line for instant playing time.

But, even if these three newcomers redshirt year one, they will have some more opportunities in 2018 as well.

After next season, Illinois will then lose Zach Heath, Harry Black, Christian DiLauro, and Jordan Fagan.  Hopefully, by the time these four leave, the Illini will have some replacements ready.

I am excited that Lovie snagged such talented offensive lineman like Watkins.  He is going to be a key member of this team if we want to get back to a major bowl game.

The future is bright for the Illinois football team and We Will Win.

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