Illinois Fighting Illini
Player: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB
247Sports composite rankings: 4-star, No. 314 nationally, No. 27 RB, No. 11 in TN
Why: While it was vital for the Illini to keep some of the top in-state talent in the fold, there’s no doubting that the running game needed a severe upgrade. Gabe Megginson, the highly rated 4-star offensive tackle is the best player and a key cog in this class, but the offensive line isn’t nearly the disaster that the running back position has been over the last few years.
Running back Josh Ferguson had a ton of potential, but never really got it going in the run game. He has never topped the 800-yard mark in a season, while rushing for over 140 attempts during both is sophomore and junior seasons. It’s telling that Ferguson was more of a danger as a pass catcher out of the backfield, where he had 50 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns.
While that’s nice, adding a dangerous run threat to a potent passing attack would make the Illinois defense even more difficult to deal with. Vaughn adds something this group has been missing and when you add in the fact that the Illini went in and stole a highly rated running back from SEC territory, you’ve got the most important recruit in the 2015 class.