19 letters of intent roll in for Illini football on Signing Day

By Jim Shay

The 2009 Illinois recruiting class is finally shaping up.

While head coach Ron Zook’s latest haul lacks the premier five-star recruits that have made headlines in the past, a series of four-star commits will make their way to Illinois in the fall.

Nathan Scheelhaase, the No. 20 quarterback prospect in the nation according to Scout.com, could be the future starting signal-caller for the Illini.

The jewel of the 2009 class could be offensive tackle Andrew Carter, a four-star recruit and the No. 7-ranked tackle in the nation.

Three-star running back Demond Dennis, a target of Zook’s, followed former Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to the University of New Mexico.

Illinois product Darren Jones, a three-star quarterback, also landed with Locksley at UNM.

Earlier in the day, four of the Illini’s targets for the 2009 recruiting class revealed their final destinations at a press conference in East St. Louis, Mo.

Four-star receivers Kraig Appleton and Terry Hawthorne, three-star safety Tommie Hopkins, and two-star defensive tackle Ty Phillips, all from East St. Louis Senior High School, will mostly part ways at the collegiate level.

Hawthorne and Hopkins both stayed on their original verbal commitments to Illinois and signed letters of intent.

The 6-foot-3 Appleton ended months of speculation in choosing Big Ten-rival Wisconsin, while Phillips landed with Missouri.

Five-star recruit Jelani Jenkins, a former target of Illinois and ranked the top linebacker in the nation by Scout.com, will attend Florida next season.

Illinois head coach Ron Zook will hold a press conference today at 3:30 p.m. to announce the official 2009 recruiting class.

Check back with Dailyillini.com throughout the day for continued news and updates.