Earlier in the day, the Illini were able to land Theodore Lockley, a talented athlete from Daytona Beach, Florida. But the Orange and Blue were not done. Lovie Smith and the Illinois coaching staff also added safety, Joriell Washington.
Washington is a 6’2”, 180 lbs. safety from Fort Myers High School. He is rated as a three-star recruit. The rising senior had a wide range of scholarship offers. In addition to the Illini, he also had offers from teams like Boston College, Oregon, and Iowa State.
Illinois’ connection to the Sunshine State via Keynodo Hudson helped land this talented defensive back. Washington said Illini staff members Aaron Gonzales and Brent Jackson.
Here is a Q&A that I had with Washington:
What made Illinois your pick?
“The love they gave me was unmatched it feels like a second family to me. I love everything about the coaching staff they feel like I’m a superstar and I can’t wait to be one on the Illinois field.”
Tell me about your relationship with the staff?
“My relationship with the staff is incredible. We laugh and talk like we are friends. Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel like recruiting that’s how good our relationship is.”
What is Illinois getting with you as a player?
“Illinois is going to get one of the best SAFETY’S IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL IF NOT THE BEST.”
As far as the depth chart is concerned, this was a huge commitment for the Illinois football program. Entering the 2021 campaign, I believe the Illini will be solid at safety. Incoming transfer TreSean Smith should provide a lot of help. I also like Sydney Brown, Delano Ware and James Knight. But all four of those players will be seniors. We are going to need depth moving forward.
Snagging a player like Washington will pay dividends when it comes to depth. I see him coming in as a freshman and, probably, redshirting. He would then enter the 2022 campaign as a redshirt freshman and could start right away.
I love what Illinois has done with the depth at defensive back, especially safety. In addition to Washington coming in, the Illini were able to secure a commitment from Daniel Edwards and Prince Green, both of whom will be in the secondary.
This program is building into something special. We are starting to get some quality depth from the class of 2021.