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Wisconsin football recruiting: A look at the decommitments in the B1G West since 2015

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An overview of the trends across the B1G West in regards to decommitments since Paul Chryst joined UW in 2015.

Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Coaching changes. Academics. Playing time. Location. Style of play. Legal troubles.

Ultimately various reasons can be the deciding factor in a recruit’s decision to decommit from a program. With the recruiting calendar speeding up across the country over the past handful of seasons, players second guessing their original declaration has become quite commonplace.

Yet the 2021 class could prove to be especially interesting, given the fact that a lot of prospects are having to make choices without actually setting foot on campus because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Add in coaching staffs having not had the chance to do thorough in-person evaluations, and the 2021 class could prove to be the biggest roller coaster ride in recent recruiting history.

According to 247Sports recruiting analyst Bud Elliott there have been over 900 commitments made by 2021 prospects thus far across the country, while at this same time last year in the 2020 class there were only around 400 players verbally committed.

With the potential for an epic decommitment cycle on the horizon, we at B5Q thought it might be a fun exercise to look back at how decommitments have shaken out for the seven teams that comprise the B1G West since Paul Chryst took over the reigns at Wisconsin during the 2015 recruiting cycle.

For each team we will dive into how many players ventured elsewhere in each recruiting class, what type of recruiting ranking they had according to their 247Sports Composite Ranking (ACR stands for average composite ranking), and where they eventually landed after their decommitment.


Wisconsin v Purdue
Paul Chryst has been relatively drama free on the recruiting front since his first full cycle on the job.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Wisconsin

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Wisconsin

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
17 10 (.8497) 2 (.9011) 0 2 (.8554) 3 (.8664) 0 0
Jordan Stevenson (four-star RB); .9160; denied admissions to UW, eventually signed with Nebraska then left the team Antonio Williams (4-star RB): .9286; eventually signed Ohio State then transferred to North Carolina Ben Bryant (3-star QB); .8643; eventually signed with Cincinnati Nolan Groulx (4-star WR); .8921; eventually signed with Wake Forest
Sam Madden (3-star OG): .8760; eventually signed with Georgia Craig Watts (3-star safety): .8736; eventually signed with USF then transferred to Valdosta State Trent Ingalls (3-star safety); .8465; retired from football Bryson Shaw (3-star safety); .8756; eventually signed with Ohio State
Nate Howard (3-star DE): .8603; eventually signed with Missouri Marcus Graham (3-star athlete); .8315; eventually signed with Stanford
Dominic Sheppard (3-star OLB); .8574; eventually signed with Virginia then transferred to UTSA
Jordan Griffin (3-star ILB): .8537; eventually signed with Vanderbilt
Brandyn Lee (3-star WR): .8453; eventually signed with UC-Davis
Elu Aydon (3-star DT): .8416; eventually signed with Oregon State
Mohamed Barry (3-star OLB); .8397; eventually signed with Nebraska
TJ Griffin (3-star CB); .8383; eventually signed with Virginia then transferred to Marshall
Jake Pickard (3-star DE): .8351; eventually signed with Syracuse

Firstly, I am going to preface this by bringing to light that the 2015 recruiting class was partially done by Gary Andersen, and finished by Paul Chryst amidst the coaching change. The resulting 10 decommitments largely stemmed from coaching changes — both at head coach but also Chris Beatty took multiple players with him to Virginia — academic casualties such as Mohammad Berry and Jordan Stevenson, and then there were other players such as Brandyn Lee who at the time were not a take for the new staff.

That year notwithstanding, Wisconsin has been pretty consistent in mitigating the chances of decommits. In the 2016 class, both Antonio Williams and Craig Watts committed to at least three separate schools during their process, and eventually transferred after signing with their final choice.

The Badgers had the Ben Bryant situation that turned into Chase Wolf being the only quarterback taken in the 2018 class, while Trent Ingalls opted to give up football prior to signing anywhere.

The three players that were actually pure decommitments in an effort to find a better “fit” for the Badgers was the players in the 2019 class. Part of a really good class for Wisconsin, Nolan Groulx and Bryson Shaw each chose to play closer to home, while Marcus Graham went on to pursue his education at Stanford after being accepted.

Overall, Wisconsin is on par with their B1G West counterparts in terms of total number of decommitments since Paul Chryst took over, and that number is much better when the hybrid 2015 class is removed from the data set.

Biggest loss: While I think an argument can be made for multiple running backs on this list, Nolan Groulx is a player that I think Wisconsin would have loved to have in the 2019 class. Four-star wide receivers aren’t usually knocking down the door to come to Wisconsin, and he is a very talented player. In the end Groulx should fit nicely at Wake Forest as the heir apparent to Sage Surratt in that offense.

Biggest misevaluation: Sometimes recruits do not progress at the same level that they are projected to, and Brandyn Lee definitely fits that mold. While he was partially a victim of the 2015 coaching change, his offer list and final commitment to UC-Davis illustrates a poor evaluation on behalf of the former coaching staff.


Iowa v Northwestern
Kirk Ferentz has been a beacon of consistency while at Iowa both on the field and in recruiting.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Iowa

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Iowa

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
12 0 1 (.8377) 5 (.8880) 3 (.8429) 1 (.8600) 1 (.8655) 1 (.8526)
Frank Darby (three-star WR); .8377; eventually signed with Arizona State Eno Benjamin (four-star RB); .9400; eventually signed with Arizona State Ben VanSumeren (three-star athlete); .8709; eventually signed with Michigan Larry Tracy III (three-star CB); .8600; eventually signed with Indiana Aaron Witt (three-star SDE); .8655; eventually signed with Wisconsin Jordan Oladokun (three-star CB); .8526; currently uncommitted but is still strongly considering Iowa
Chevin Calloway (four-star CB); .9357; eventually signed with Arkansas then transferred to SMU Anthony Torres (three-star TE); .8464; eventually signed with Western Michigan
Gavin Holmes (three-star WR); .8791; eventually signed with Baylor Mike Bruner (three-star OLB); .8115; eventually signed with North Dakota
Juan Harris (three-star DT); .8486; eventually signed with Indiana
Beau Corrales (three-star WR); .8368; eventually signed with North Carolina

One of the more consistent teams in the past 20 years in college football, Iowa has also been relatively consistent on the recruiting front as well. With a rigid no visit policy for committed prospects, Iowa has been relatively unscathed from decommits outside of the 2017 and 2018 classes.

Iowa prides itself on early evaluations and has a strong track record — similar to Wisconsin — for turning lower rated players into NFL products on an annual basis.

Overall, Iowa is on the lower end of the scale in regards to total decommitments, something likely propped up by being one of the only teams in the division to not have a major coaching change during this time period. Recent events within the program could test that theory and the dedication of their current commitments however, especially given the nature of what has unfolded.

Biggest loss: Eno Benjamin. Benjamin was one of the top running backs in the country over the past few seasons at Arizona State after decommitting from Iowa due to the no visit policy. The former four-star tailback was recently selected in the NFL Draft, and he would have been a notable addition to the Iowa offense after Akrum Wadley exhausted his eligibility.

Biggest misevaluation: A name that most Wisconsin recruitniks may remember is Mike Bruner. The first commitment for Iowa in the 2018, Bruner did not progress at the rate that Iowa had hope for after securing his early verbal after completion of his junior season. The low three-star linebacker would later land at North Dakota.


Maryland v Minnesota
PJ Fleck has increased the level of talent coming in at Minnesota, but that has come with a much higher decommitment rate than his peers.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Minnesota

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Minnesota

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
48 1 (.8422) 10 (.8515) 13 (.8388) 7 (.8583) 8 (.8546) 7 (.8487) 2 (.8836)
Almonzo Brown (three-star WR); .8422; eventually signed with Western Kentucky before transferring out Sean Foster (three-star OT); .8893; eventually signed with Iowa State Kyrei Fisher (three-star OLB); .8527; eventually signed with Oregon State Jaylen Mayfield (four-star OT); .9062; eventually signed with Michigan Kristian Williams (three-star DT); .8897; eventually signed with Oregon Aaron Witt (three-star SDE); .8655; eventually signed with Wisconsin Sam Jackson (four-star ATH); .8927; currently committed to Purdue to play QB
Dredrick Snelson (three-star WR); .8849; eventually signed with UCF Joshua Croslen (three-star DT); .8518; eventually signed with Bowling Green Oyenmwen Uzebu (three-star OT); .8742; eventually signed with West Virginia Jason Bargy (three-star WDE); .8851; did not sign anywhere after legal troubles Justin Bellido (three-star WR); .8538; eventually signd with Boston College Albert Regis (three-star DT); .8744; currently uncommitted
Tony Poljan (three-star QB); .8553; eventually signed with Central Michigan Bryson Jackson (three-star OLB); .8462; eventually signed with Baylor Brennan Armstrong (three-star QB); .8710; eventually signed with Virginia Gervarrius Owens (three-star safety); .8600; eventually signed with Houston Casey Collier (three-star OT); .8506; eventually signed with USC
Andre Polk (three-star OLB); .8520; eventually signed with USF Jacquarius Landrews (three-star safety); .8445; eventually signed with Mississippi State Noah Shannon (three-star DT); .8675; eventually signed with Iowa Chris Daniels (three-star DT); .8549; eventually signed with Missouri CJ West (three-star DT); .8473; eventually signed with Kent State
Elijah Daniels (three-star safety); .8466; eventually signed with Maryland Trey Creamer (three-star CB); .8429; went to JUCO before eventually signing with Charlotte Tyrik Henderson (three-star CB); .8550; eventually signed with Northern Illinois Damarion Williams (three-star CB); .8453; eventually signed with Houston Benjamin Onwuzo (three-star CB); .8471; eventually signed with Florida A&M
Jovanny Garcia (three-star DT); .8419; retired from football Eric Abojei (three-star OT); .8422; eventually signed with Wyoming Ahmad McCullough (three-star OLB); .8467; eventually signed with Maryland T.J. Robinson (three-star safety); .8439; eventually signed with Rutgers Claude Larkins (three-star WDE; .8452; eventually committed to NC State)
Tralund Webber (three-star WDE); .8418; eventually signed with Oklahoma State Raheem Layne (three-star CB); .8398; eventually signed with Indiana Shamaur McDowell (three-star CB); .8173; enrolled at Toledo in 2020 Juwan Mitchell (three-star ILB); .8317; eventually signed with Texas Richard Agyekum (three-star ATH; .8314; eventually committed to North Dakota)
Matt Kegel (three-star OG); .8391; eventually signed with Oklahoma State Javan Hawes (three-star); .8398; eventually signed with Cincinnati Camden Lewis (three-star kicker); .8263; eventually signed with Oregon
Elijah Battle (three-star CB); .8342; eventually signed with West Virginia Corey Gaynor (three-star OC); .8366; eventually signed with Miami
Elisha Daniels (three-star CB); .8300; eventually signed with Maryland Claudin Cherelus (three-star OLB); .8359; eventually signed with UMASS
Jakyle Holmes (three-star ATH); .8321; eventually signed with UL-Monroe
Jimmie Terry (three-star OG); .8242; eventually signed with Southern Miss
Bret Kitrell (three-star OC); .8153; eventually signed with Ohio

A school that has definitely been hit hard with decommitments during this time frame is Minnesota. To be fair, the Gophers have endured three separate head coaches during this span of time, but the numbers are significantly higher than their West division opponents.

Jerry Kill had things relatively calm at the tail end of his tenure before stepping away due to health concerns, but the transition between Kill to Tracy Claeys, and later P.J. Fleck definitely threw a wrench in the flywheel that is recruiting. During that two year window from the 2016 to 2017 classes, Minnesota had 23 decommitments, head and shoulders greater than any other team in the division had over the entire time encompassed in our data.

Since that time, the rate of decommitments has certainly gone down at Minnesota, but the 24 players that have backed away from their pledge under Fleck since the start of the 2018 cycle is still fairly alarming.

Fleck has noticeably improved the caliber of athletes coming onto campus, but the propensity for players to continue searching for different options after their commitment or not be up to snuff talent or grade wise later in the process can’t be ignored in Minneapolis.

Biggest loss: Minnesota has done a nice job of improving the talent level along the offensive line in recent years, but Jalen Mayfield was an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer as a sophomore after decommitting from the Gophers. Adding him into the mix with some of the offensive lineman that are currently along the Minnesota line probably would have seemed nice for fans.

I thought of picking Kristian Williams, a redshirt freshman defensive tackle at Oregon for this spot as well, especially given the high number of defensive line recruits who decommitted under Fleck, but Mayfield is a proven commodity that is already earning heavy praise in NFL circles going into his junior season.

Biggest misevaluation: There are a couple of different options to turn to here given that there were decent number of players who decommitted and later wound up at lower level Group of Five teams, but for the sake of this exercise I will go with the 2017 offensive line group.

In that cycle four offensive lineman decommitted, and only one of those players ended up at a Power Five school. While Minnesota rebounded nicely by bringing in some star power lineman in the 2018 class, the number of players that dropped down a level after committing to Minnesota in the 2017 class is noteworthy.


Nebraska v Maryland
Scott Frost has been working to reload Nebraska back into a division contender.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Nebraska

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Nebraska

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
19 1 (.8856) 0 3 (.8732) 7 (.9155) 4 (.8854) 3 (.8607) 1 (.8485)
Kendall Bussey (three-star RB); .8856; eventually signed with Texas A&M then transferred to Nichols State Jamire Calvin (four-star WR); .8923; eventually signed with Washington State Brendan Riley-Hiles (four-star CB); .9807; eventually signed with Oklahoma Marquez Beason (four-star ATH); .9564; eventually signed with Illinois Rodney Groce Jr. (three-star ILB); .8742; eventually signed with Mississippi State RJ Sorenson (three-star SDE); currently committed to Louisville
Reese Leitao (three-star TE); .8689; eventually signed with Texas Joshua Moore (four-star WR); .9556; eventually signed with Texas Manuel Allen (three-star WR); .8717; eventually signed with Western Kentucky Jamoi Hodge (three-star OLB); .8722; eventually signed with TCU
Robert Porcher IV (three-star WDE); .8584; eventually signed with Virginia Tech Mario Goodrich (four-star ATH); .9492; eventually signed with Clemson Tony Fair (three-star DT); .8649; eventually signed with UAB Junior Aho (three-star SDE); .8358; eventually signed with SMU
Chase Williams (four-star CB); .9423; eventually signed with USC Thomas Grayson (three-star RB); .8485; eventually signed with Kansas State
Cameron Brown (four-star WR); .8971; eventually signed with Ohio State
Masry Mapieu (three-star DT); .8541; eventually signed with Louisiana
Eric Fuller (three-star WR); .8293; the team and recruit "parted ways"

In total, Nebraska has done fairly well at steering clear of decommitments. The Cornhuskers, like most other teams in the division, underwent a coaching change during this period, switching from Mike Riley to Scott Frost during the 2018 cycle. That shift in personnel influenced the higher decommitment numbers that season, but overall Nebraska has been relatively consistent with only a few changes each year.

One noticeable trend for Nebraska in this study is the number of players that decommit and end up at upper tier Power-5 programs. Unlike some of the schools on their side of the division, most players are not leaving due to misevaluation. Rather, players choose an offer that they deem to be a better fit for them often.

The general trend under Scott Frost has been quite a bit higher than it had been under Mike Riley, but three to four players going elsewhere is not out of the norm across the college football landscape.

Biggest loss: Brendan Radley-Hines is a logical choice here. Not only was he the highest rated decommitted player for the Cornhuskers, but he has been a multi-year starter at defensive back for Oklahoma since.

Radley-Hines is a physical defensive back that would have fit in nicely for a Nebraska defense that has been fairly hit or miss against the run in recent years. Add in the fact that he is a California kid and went to IMG Academy, and those pipelines are hard to ignore as added bonuses.

Biggest misevaluation: Wide receiver Eric Fuller gets my vote here. The lower-ranked three-star wide receiver had some off the field concerns that ultimately doomed his collegiate future, and turned his potential career completely sideways.


Iowa v Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald’s no visit policy has virtually made decommitments from Northwestern a non-issue.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Northwestern

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Northwestern

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
5 0 1 (.8640) 1 (.8538) 1 (.8378) 1 (.8863) 1 (.8958) 0
Deuce Wallace (three-star QB); .8640; eventually signed with Vanderbilt Bryce Wolma (three-star TE); .8538; eventually signed with Arizona Ethan Bonner (three-star CB); .8378; eventually signed with Stanford Cale Millen (three-star QB); .8863; eventually signed with Oregon Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen (four-star WR); .8958; eventually signed with Purdue

If Minnesota is an outlier on the high end of the spectrum, Northwestern is on the complete opposite side of the coin in terms of decommitments.

Coaching continuity under Pat Fitzgerald is a big reason for the Wildcats only having a handful of recruiting losses since 2015. The former Northwestern alum hinted that there may be more decommitments coming in the 2021 class as a whole, for many of the same reasons I alluded to earlier, but Northwestern has done a great job of avoiding it as a program.

As a high academic school, Northwestern is generally very particular about the athletes that they pursue, and do their due diligence in the recruiting process to make sure an athlete is a fit in the classroom before they offer a scholarship. Add in a no visit policy under Fitzgerald, and the results have been fairly good for the Wildcats, and has made Evanston a relatively drama free spot for recruiting.

Biggest loss: I’m going to say three-star quarterback Cale Millen. For a team with one of the worst offensive seasons in program history last season, Northwestern could have really used a solid quarterback to turn to. A highly regarded prospect out of Washington, Millen chose to instead go to Oregon, and the Wildcats did not end up taking a scholarship freshman that season.

Biggest misevaluation: In looking across the list of decommits, there aren’t really any weaknesses. Northwestern didn’t have a huge miss in terms of social, academic, or talent level in any of the five players.


Maryland v Purdue
Jeff Brohm has dramatically changed Purdue football, including the results in recruiting.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Purdue

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Purdue

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
17 0 0 8 (.8294) 5 (.8351) 1 (.8540) 3 (.8683) 0
Antwuan Branch (three-star RB); .8544; eventually signed with North Carolina Destin Coates (three-star RB); .8423; eventually signed with Georgia State Demetrius Mauney (three-star ATH); .8540; eventually signed with East Carolina Christian Gonzalez (four-star safety); .8958; eventually signed with Colorado
Robert Hudson (three-star OT); .8437; eventually signed with Iowa State Kayvonn Kyle (three-star ATH); .8393; eventually signed with Iowa State Malachi Melton (three-star CB); .8572; eventually signed with Rutgers
Malcolm Robinson (three-star DT); .8406; eventually signd with Minnesota Connor Parks (three-star WDE); .8361; eventually signed with Kent State then transferred to Florida A&M Jaylen Stinson (three-star ATH); .8519; eventually signed with Duke
Brevin Harris (three-star WR); .8388; eventually signed with Ohio Clay Harris (three-star RB); .8361; eventually signed with Citadel
C.J. Hayes (three-star WR); .8360; eventually signed with Michigan State Cornelius McCoy (three-star WR); .8215; eventually signed with Georgia State
Jylton Tusha (three-star OT); .8197; eventually signed with Ohio
Marcus Jones (three-star CB); .8022; eventually signed with Troy then transferred to Houston
Mitch West (three-star CB); .7999; eventually signed with Navy

The perception and overall recruiting success of the Purdue football program has drastically changed since 2015 in large part because of Jeff Brohm.

Darrell Hazell’s short time at Purdue was not great on the recruiting front, or on the field. While there was not a huge slew of decommitments, the level of talent was not strong enough to compete in the Big Ten.

Since Jeff Brohm’s hiring in December of 2016 though, Purdue has done a much better job in recruiting. For example in 2016, Hazell’s last year at the helm, Purdue’s class ranked No. 80 and did not have a single four-star prospect. Flash forward to 2019, and Brohm landed the No. 25 class and had four four-star recruits sign.

Purdue has seen an uptick in recruiting under Brohm, but there has also been a slight increase in decommitments as well. In his first four classes Brohm has 17 decommitments, with five prospects in the 2018/2019 classes eventually signing with lower tier programs, generally a symptom of misevaluations or subpar projections.

Brohm’s numbers are definitely skewed because of the coaching change during the 2017 class, so holistically Purdue is doing just fine, and Purdue fans should be happy with the progress under one of the highest paid coaches in the conference.

Biggest loss: Christian Gonzalez is not only the highest rated decomitment under Brohm, but he could have been a very talented defensive playmaker for the Boilermakers. Purdue has been very good offensively under Brohm, but Gonzalez is the type of athlete that could have elevated the defense.

Biggest misevaluation: Mitch West. A two-star cornerback that eventually landed at Navy, West did not hold another Power-5 offer outside of Purdue. The 5-foot-10 prospect was a reach at the time of his commitment given his other options, and thus far he has primarily been a special teams player for the Midshipmen.


Illinois v Iowa
Bring back to the beard Lovie!
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Illinois

B1G West decommitments since 2015: Illinois

Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
17 0 7 (.8398) 2 (.8397) 3 (.8398) 3 (.8501) 2 (.8635) 0
Kentrail Moran (three-star RB); .8832; eventually signed with New Mexico Antwan Collier (three-star CB); .8406; eventually signed with UCF Braeden Daniels (three-star OG); .8364; eventually signed with Utah Fabian McCray (three-star WR); .8571; eventually signed with Northern Illinois Marcus Harper (three-star OG); .8647; eventually signed with Oregon
Joshua Black (three-star SDE); .8427; eventually signed with Syracuse Ryan O'Malley (three-star DT); .8388; eventually signed with Army Cordel Littlejohn (three-star QB); .8335; eventually signed with FAU Bryce Childress (three-star CB); .8568; eventually signed with Troy CJ Dixon (three-star QB); .8622; unknown
Drake Spears (three-star ILB); .8421; eventually signed with Western Michigan Antwain Walker (three-star CB); .8227; eventually signed with Northern Illinois Jakai Clark (three-star OC); .8364; eventually signed with Miami
Tre Johnson (three-star OT); .8394; eventually signed with Miami
Tim Walton (three-star ILB); .8349; eventually signed with Syracuse
Antonio Shelton (three-star DT); .8283; eventually signed with Penn State
Devin Singletary (three-star RB); .8078; eventually signed with FAU

Another team that underwent various coaching changes recently, Illinois had their largest class of decommits happened during a series of transition between Tim Beckman, Bill Cubit, and their current head coach Lovie Smith.

Under Smith, Illinois has steadily improved the talent level of the team via high school prospects and the transfer portal, and helped Illinois get to their first bowl game in some time last season.

The Fighting Illini have consistently had a couple decommitments each season under Smith, but nothing out of the ordinary. At this point Illinois is in a much improved place, and their decommitment numbers are at a very normal level in comparison to their B1G West brethren.

Biggest loss: Devin Singletary might have been the lowest ranked player to decommit from Illinois, but he turned out to have a tremendous career in college and now is making waves in the NFL. The Florida product decided to stay closer to home and play for FAU instead of sticking with his commitment to Illinois.

In the end he had three straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons and was a third round pick by the Buffalo Bills.

Biggest misevaluation: A 6-foot-1 cornerback sounds promising, but Antwain Walker would eventually change his commitment, and sign with Northern Illinois, his only other FBS offer. Based on on his offer list that included interest from Miami of Ohio, Walker did not fit the mold of what Illinois was looking for when spots tightened up in the class.


Overall breakdown

B1G West decommitments since 2015

Team Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Team Overall decommits since the 2015 class 2015 (ACR) 2016 (ACR) 2017 (ACR) 2018 (ACR) 2019 (ACR) 2020 (ACR) 2021 (ACR)
Wisconsin 17 9 (.8497) 2 (.9011) 0 2 (.8554) 3 (.8664) 0 0
Iowa 12 0 1 (.8377) 5 (.8880) 3 (.8429) 1 (.8600) 1 (.8655) 1 (.8526)
Minnesota 48 1 (.8422) 10 (.8515) 13 (.8388) 7 (.8583) 8 (.8546) 7 (.8487) 2 (.8836)
Nebraska 19 1 (.8856) 0 3 (.8732) 7 (.9155) 4 (.8854) 3 (.8607) 1 (.8485)
Northwestern 5 0 1 (.8640) 1 (.8538) 1 (.8378) 1 (.8863) 1 (.8958) 0
Purdue 17 0 0 8 (.8294) 5 (.8351) 1 (.8540) 3 (.8683) 0
Illinois 17 0 7 (.8398) 2 (.8397) 3 (.8398) 3 (.8501) 2 (.8635) 0