- Bill Conley
The state of Illinois has long been a fertile recruiting area for college programs, primarily in the Midwest, but also on a national scale. Geographics in terms of closeness to many college campuses, easy flight access and the very solid high school football programs in the state have made Illinois a regular recruiting hub. Even though the Big Ten dominates the state each year, it is not uncommon for some of the very best players to head south or west to follow their football dreams, which is the case for the state's No. 1 prospect, wide receiver Kyle Prater (Hillside, Ill./Proviso West), who has committed to USC.
For the second year in a row, eight of the top 10 players in the state can be found on the offensive side of the ball. The difference is that in 2009 four of the top 10 were offensive linemen, but in 2010 we find more skilled athletes among the elite -- including three quarterbacks and two wide receivers. The overall talent level is not quite as good as last year when there were seven four-star athletes in the top 10, compared with just three in 2010, but you can expect the state to get a ton of recruiting attention, once again.
For a look at the state's top player, a name to remember who might not be the highest-rated prospect and which programs are doing the best job of recruiting in Illinois this year, become an ESPN Insider.
Kyle Prater and Gregory Barksdale highlight Illinois' recruiting class, writes Bill Conley.