Class 7A IHSA state champion East St. Louis has been a hub of recruiting activity over the past few weeks and will remain busy until National Signing Day on Feb. 1.
East St. Louis All-State safety James Knight (5-foot-10, 198 pounds) gave head coach Lovie Smith and Illinois his verbal commitment on Monday.
"It's right next to home and I like their coaching staff," Knight said. "I really like coach Smith and their program. It feels like home for me."
Four-star ranked wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) released his Top 5 schools on Twitter and plans to announce his college decision on Feb. 1.
Thomas made an official visit to Illinois, but canceled a planned visit to Louisville last weekend because of poor weather in the area. Thomas has one more official visit planned to Miami this weekend.
On Wednesday, East St. Louis two-star ranked quarterback Rey Estes (6-foot-0, 161 pounds) announced that he was giving Minnesota his verbal commitment.
Estes was originally committed to Missouri but decided to reopen his recruiting.
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One local player to keep tabs on is Oak Park-River Forest senior wide receiver Jared Scott (6-foot-6, 215 pounds). Scott has been impressive on the hardwood for the Huskies, and has also seen his football recruiting stock take off with a few weeks left before National Signing Day. Scott has added football scholarship offers from Western Michigan and Wyoming, while several FCS schools have shown late recruiting interest.
Johnsburg All-State running back Alex Peete (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) had a handful of DII scholarship offers on the table, but earlier this week decided to give DIII football powerhouse University of Wisconsin-Whitewater his verbal commitment.
"I just really like the coaches at UW Whitewater," Peete said. "They kept recruiting me hard and I also just feel very comfortable at Whitewater. UWW has a great winning tradition and I want to get a chance to play for national championships. The combination of athletics and academics at Whitewater along with being a bit closer to home really was the biggest difference for me."